Two two-track fixed bridges (below) will replace the existing two-track movable bridge. There will also be 8km of additional track realignment and construction, together with modernisation of overhead power, signal, safety and security systems to improve efficiency on the Northeast Corridor. The total construction cost is estimated to be at least US$1.5 billion.
Rail operator Amtrak said that it plans to issue several key solicitations for the work in the coming months. These will include a ‘construction manager at risk’ (CMAR) contract for the construction of the new bridges and a design-bid-build (DBB) contract for enabling works. Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) plan to award both contracts in 2023.
The Susquehanna River Rail Bridge (below) is the longest moveable bridge on the Northeast Corridor. It is used by Amtrak, Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) rail and Norfolk Southern to support more than 110 passenger and freight trains daily. Currently, crossing the bridge requires trains to slow to a speed of 145km/h, resulting in capacity and reliability constraints.
“The bridge was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad at the turn of the 20th century and while it was well-constructed and remains safe, it is a significant bottleneck on the Northeast Corridor,” said Amtrak executive vice president, capital delivery, Laura Mason. “Once complete, both new bridges will reduce trip time and improve reliability for passenger and freight trains that rely on this critical connection.”
As a funding partner for the project, MDOT MTA has committed US$3 million toward a design grant that was recently awarded. Amtrak and MDOT MTA are in discussions about jointly pursuing additional grant funding for the cost of construction under the Federal State Partnership Program.
Amtrak is inviting firms interested in the programme to attend an 'industry day' in December 2022 to learn more about the project. Interested contractors should monitor Amtrak’s procurement portal for further information.