Amtrak Advances with New Connecticut River Bridge Construction Contract


Friday, June 28, 2024

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Amtrak is set to commence the construction of a new, state-of-the-art Connecticut River Bridge, replacing the current structure, following the awarding of a construction contract to the O&G/Tutor Perini Joint Venture. This development follows recent permit approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The new Connecticut River Bridge aims to enhance reliability and reduce delays for Amtrak’s intercity services, Connecticut Shore Line East commuter service, and freight operators along the Northeast Corridor (NEC), which is the busiest rail corridor in the United States. This project is one among several rail improvement initiatives in Connecticut, including the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Devon Bridge and Walk Bridge replacement projects.

Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner

“Today’s milestone brings us one step closer to putting shovels in the ground and kicking off construction for this major project. We appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration and FRA for the historic funding that has enabled this project and others along the NEC to advance from planning to construction, as well as Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy, Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Transportation for their continued support and partnership.”

FRA Administrator Amit Bose

“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, FRA is investing billions in the Northeast Corridor and Connecticut with Fed State-NEC grants supporting nine projects in the State, including the Connecticut River Bridge replacement project, which will reduce disruptions, allow for increased speeds and improve travel times for riders. Today’s milestone is a step forward in delivering the modern and resilient infrastructure Americans deserve.”

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont

“Maintaining infrastructure that is capable of safely and efficiently transporting people and goods throughout our region is critical for the economic growth of our state. This new bridge will ensure that rail service can continue in Connecticut for many years to come.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

“The Connecticut River Bridge is an essential part of the busy Northeast Corridor rail line, but in dire need of repair. I am thrilled the work to replace this century-old bridge is moving forward — ensuring improved rail service is on the way — and I will keep fighting for federal resources to improve Connecticut’s aging infrastructure.”

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy

“Investing in the future of rail in Connecticut is a no-brainer – it makes life easier for travelers and commuters, boosts economic growth, creates good-paying jobs, and helps fight the climate crisis. Thanks to funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this $1.3 billion investment to replace the aging Connecticut River Bridge will keep our railways safe, cut travel times, and improve Amtrak’s rail service for Connecticut riders.”

Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto

“The new Connecticut River Bridge will serve the entire Northeast Corridor. It will help realize Governor Ned Lamont’s goal of improved rail connectivity north to Boston and south to Washington, D.C. The new structure, built by Connecticut’s building trades, will improve safety, reliability, and increase operating speeds along the line. CTDOT is grateful for the continued support of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration, the advocacy of our Congressional Delegation, and collaboration of our partners at Amtrak.”

the Project

Amtrak will build a new two-track bridge to replace the existing Connecticut River Bridge, located between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme, CT, approximately halfway between New York City and Providence, RI. The new movable bridge will be situated just south of the current bridge and will include modern track, signal, catenary, power, communication, and other essential rail infrastructure. It will be designed for a maximum speed of 70 mph, a significant increase from the current maximum speed of 45 mph. Additionally, the new bridge will provide improved maritime navigation and safety due to greater vertical clearance compared to the existing structure.

Existing Bridge Details

The existing Connecticut River Bridge, spanning 1,500 feet, opened in 1907 and is one of several movable rail bridges along the NEC. It currently accommodates over 50 daily Amtrak Northeast Regional and Acela trains, CTrail Shore Line East service, and various freight trains. The aging bridge has become increasingly unreliable, often failing to open and close properly, which causes significant delays for both rail and maritime traffic.

Contract and Financial Details

The project will be executed under a Design-Bid-Build contract, with design work now complete and construction slated to begin in late summer or early fall 2024. Amtrak has also awarded a construction management contract to AECOM, which will support Amtrak with construction management, document control, schedule and budget oversight, and community outreach. This team will work closely with Amtrak’s in-house Capital Delivery department and the construction contractor.

The total cost of the project is approximately $1.3 billion, primarily funded by the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), with a $826.64 million federal grant awarded by the FRA. The remaining costs will be covered by Amtrak and the State of Connecticut.

Next Steps

Amtrak will continue to engage the public with outreach efforts, including an open house event before the start of construction. This project is part of a broader initiative to usher in a new era of passenger rail, featuring investments in modern trains, stations, tunnels, bridges, and other critical infrastructure to enhance customer experience, improve safety and reliability, and increase capacity for future passengers.

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