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Shortlist Released for $16B NY-NJ Hudson River Tunnel

Hudson River Tunnel Portal

Three teams have been shortlisted by Gateway Development Commission for a project delivery partner to support it in supplying a $16-billion rail tunnel project linking New York and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River.

The commission nominated a JV of Bechtel-HNTB; Hudson Delivery Partnership, a team of Atkins North America Inc., Arup US Inc. and The McKissack Group Inc.; and MPA Delivery Partners, comprising Parsons Transportation Group of New York Inc, Arcadis of New York Inc. and Mace North America Ltd. to present suggestions.

Catherine Cronin, senior vice president of Parsons’ connected communities’ business unit, remarked that this would be the first performance of the project delivery partner model in the U.S. and stated their team “has the experience to deliver an important update to a century-old rail tunnel that is relied on by hundreds of thousands of commuters every day.”

Stephen Sigmund, head of public outreach for Gateway, reported that the RFQ (request for qualifications) marked “a robust response”. However, he refused to articulate how many companies or teams responded to the RFQ call.

Commission officials pointed out that the project delivery partner would deliver the technical, managerial, financial and organizational experience to assist with receiving federal funding and efficiently provide the project.

Gateway is gaining ground in federal financing to support pay for the project. On May 19, the executive director of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s Build America Bureau, Morteza Farajian, informed the commission that officials were progressing the project to the creditworthiness review phase for a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program loan.

The review will concern an independent financial advisor assigned by the agency. Sigmund claims the process is anticipated to take almost six months. Also, if the review process goes well, Gateway would be requested to apply for the loan.

The Gateway Development Commission was jointly initiated by New York and New Jersey, to be responsible for rail infrastructure projects between Secaucus Junction in New Jersey and Penn Station in Manhattan. Last year, the commission officially became the tunnel project sponsor, promoting it to pursue billions of dollars in federal funding. Also, it is running the $1.7-billion Portal North Bridge replacement in the New Jersey Meadowlands.

The Hudson River tunnel project calls for the construction of a two-tube, 2.4-mile-long tunnel, as well as repair of Amtrak’s current North River Tunnel, which commenced in 1910 and was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, to guarantee the resilience of the Northeast Corridor rail line between Boston and Washington, D.C.

Last month, the commission declared that it was modifying its contract packaging to enable competitive bidding. The program now calls for a total of nine contract packages, including items such as river bottom stabilization, three sections of tunnelling, tunnel fit-out, the current tunnel rehabilitation as well as the construction of retaining walls and bridges in New Jersey and a concrete casing at Hudson Yards in Manhattan.

As the commission argued, primary construction could begin as soon as next year, which would put it on track to finish the new tunnel in 2035 and complete repairs on the North River Tunnel in 2038.

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