Secaucus and Kearney, NJ


Rail Transportation: Line Segments & Tunnels


Program/Construction Management Services: Construction Management and Inspection

Portal North Bridge Replacement

The existing Portal Bridge was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1907 and began operations in 1910. The structure is a two-track moveable swing-span bridge that crosses the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus, NJ. Both Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT operate about 450 trains per day over the structure between New Jersey and New York City.

The existing bridge poses reliability concerns, capacity constraints, and operational inflexibility. The swing span and the miter rail configuration are difficult to maintain, and the bridge’s low vertical clearance results in conflicts with maritime users. Reliability issues also cause delays along Amtrak’s heavily traveled Northeast Corridor.

To better optimize service, improve capacity and allow for increased speeds, a new, high-level, three-span network-tied arch fixed-span bridge has been proposed, that eliminates the moveable components that have caused reliability issues in the past. STV, in joint venture, has been contracted by NJ TRANSIT to provide construction management and inspection services for this vital reconstruction project, including critical path method scheduling, constructability reviews, and project controls.

Adding to the challenge of this project is the fact that the bridge is located within a corridor that averages about 160 feet in width and 2.4 miles in length, while serving the most active passenger rail line in North America. The project requires complex construction phasing and staging to maintain rail service while conducting construction activities within the rail corridor.

The new 50-foot-high bridge includes the construction of retaining walls, access roads, tracks, cofferdams, piers, columns, and abutments, temporary work platforms, as well as the demolition of the existing bridge, overhead catenary system and other associated rail infrastructure.