New York

Years Later, Construction to Restart on Hudson River Rail Tunnel

After a 13-year detour, work is about to begin again in New Jersey on a rail tunnel that would run all the way to Midtown Manhattan and end the region’s reliance on a pair of crumbling tubes built more than a century ago.

As soon as next month, construction could start on a highway bridge that would clear a path for massive boring machines to cut through the rocky palisade and under the Hudson River. The $16.1 billion two-track tunnel they would create is the centerpiece of the largest public works project underway in the nation, known as Gateway.

On Monday, the tunnel’s developer, the Gateway Development Commission, awarded the first contracts for construction work on the New Jersey side. Using a $25 million grant from the federal government, the commission’s board approved a $47.3 million construction contract with Conti Civil, a company based in Edison, N.J.

“The Hudson Tunnel Project is moving rapidly toward construction,” said Alicia Glen, co-chair of the commission. “Once this work starts, we expect that there will be no stopping the most urgent infrastructure project in the nation.”

Conti will raise a portion of Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen to provide a clearance of 19 feet above the train tracks that would lead to the mouth of the new tunnel, a spokesman for the commission said. Those tracks would lie to the south of, and essentially parallel to, the only two tracks that connect New York City to New Jersey and the rest of the Northeast Corridor down to Washington.

If this plan sounds familiar that is because transportation planners have been here before. In 2010, work had already begun to move the same stretch of roadway to provide access to the western end of a different tunnel to New York. But that project, which was known as ARC, for Access to the Region’s Core, was abruptly canceled by Chris Christie, who was then New Jersey’s governor.

Mr. Christie, now a Republican presidential candidate, said at the time that he feared that his state would be saddled with huge cost overruns for ARC, which was then estimated to cost $8.7 billion. Had the project continued on schedule, the new tunnel would already have been in use for a few years.

A new tunnel would provide relief for the existing tubes that opened in 1910 and were flooded with saltwater when Hurricane Sandy swamped the metropolitan area in 2012. Officials of Amtrak, the national railroad that owns those tunnels, have warned for years that the lingering effects of that flooding are threatening the region’s transportation network.

Amtrak plans to take the old tunnels out of service for extensive repairs once the new tunnel is built. If it was forced to close one before then, Amtrak has said, rush-hour capacity for commuting in and out of New York City would be reduced by as much as 75 percent.

The commission also approved a $5.5 million contract for professional services with Naik Consulting Group, which will oversee the construction project.

“This is the start of the Hudson Tunnel Project and we are not waiting for 2024,” said Kris Kolluri, the chief executive of the commission. Mr. Kolluri said that work would be underway on five of nine parts of the Gateway project by the end of this year.

Bir yanıt yazın

E-posta adresiniz yayınlanmayacak. Gerekli alanlar * ile işaretlenmişlerdir