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NEWARK-Transit has awarded a design services contract for the $1.3 billion Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement Project to Pasadena, CA-based Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. Jacobs, along with tri-venture partners Gannett Fleming Transit & Rail Systems and HNTB Corp., will provide the engineering design services for the portion of the project located west of the Hackensack River.

The Portal Bridge Project will involve replacing a 98-year-old, two-track railroad swing bridge over the Hackensack River with two bridges on either side of the existing bridge. The bridge carries Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor train service and NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line and Midtown Direct service to New York’s Penn Station.

The two new bridges will carry a total of five tracks. The bridge to the north will be a fixed bridge with a 50-foot water clearance and three tracks. The two-track bridge to the south will have a movable 400-foot long center span with a 40-foot mean high water clearance. Jacobs’ part in the project will include designing up to 12 bridges carrying railroad traffic above county road, performing track work and rail systems work that includes signals and communications, providing geotechnical services, building retaining walls and performing constructability analyses. The project is due to be completed in 2017.

“We are delighted to have been selected with our tri-venture partners for this vital project,” says Jacobs Group VP Kevin McMahon in a company statement. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with NJ Transit by providing the services needed to support its goals of providing improved services to its customers and of promoting the long-term economic development of the New York metropolitan region.” Calls to Jacobs and to NJ Transit seeking further comment and information were not returned as of press time.

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