Amtrak Advances Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project
$1.5B infrastructure investment to enhance Northeast Corridor travel
BALTIMORE – Amtrak is moving forward with a major infrastructure project to replace the 116-year-old Susquehanna River Rail Bridge. Two new bridges will replace the current bridge; and overhead power, signal, safety and security systems will be modernized to improve railroad efficiency on the Northeast Corridor. The total construction cost to replace the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge is estimated to be at least $1.5 billion.
“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.”
“The Federal Railroad Administration is proud of the federal investments being made in the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project. We are eager to see those investments move Amtrak riders, commuters, and freight faster and more efficiently,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we have the opportunity to update and replace more aging rail structures like the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge, and we look forward to working with States and entities to deliver the rail projects people across the country need and deserve.”
As the longest moveable bridge on the Northeast Corridor, the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge 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 90 mph, resulting in capacity and reliability constraints. To resolve this issue, two newly constructed two-track fixed bridges will replace the existing two-track movable bridge, along with five miles of additional track realignment and construction. In the coming months, Amtrak plans to issue several key solicitations, including, but not limited to:
- Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) for the construction of the new bridges and
- Design-Bid-Build (DBB) contract for enabling works.
Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and MDOT MTA plan to award both contracts in 2023.
As a funding partner for the project, the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) has committed $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.
“We are pleased to invest $3 million to partner with Amtrak to complete final design on the Susquehanna Bridge,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Holly Arnold. “The Susquehanna Bridge provides a critical link for service to the north and this project will provide improvements to MARC Train capacity, trip time and safety.
“The 116-year-old Susquehanna Railroad Bridge needs to be replaced with crossings that can accommodate faster travel and support our efforts to modernize the Northeast Corridor,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “This is a critical project that will create jobs, improve safety and reliability, and facilitate the efficient flow of rail service. The federal government remains a committed partner in this important project, and I look forward to seeing it progress in its implementation.”
“Historic investments from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are making the replacement of the Susquehanna River Bridge a reality. This project is critical to ensure the safety of Maryland commuters and the reliability of our supply chains up and down the East Coast. I was proud to join members of the Maryland Congressional Delegation this summer to announce $20 million for the completion of the design work for this project and I will keep working to deliver federal funding for the needed modernization of our state’s infrastructure,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen.
“If we want to keep people and products – and our economy – moving forward, we must invest in our aging infrastructure,” said Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger. “I proudly supported federal funding for this critical project, which will make the commutes of Marylanders faster and safer, while strengthening our supply chain and creating jobs.”
“I am very pleased to hear that Amtrak is moving forward with its plan to replace the Susquehanna bridge with two new bridges. Given that the Susquehanna bridge was built eight years before World War I, replacing this heavily used and older bridge will improve the safety of all travelers, including maritime traffic below it. This replacement project will also create economic opportunity for residents of the First District, and I look forward to seeing the completion of this project,” said Congressman Andy Harris.
Amtrak is inviting firms interested in the program to attend an Industry Day in December 2022 to learn more about the project. Interested contractors should monitor Amtrak’s Procurement Portal located here for further information about Industry Day. The Procurement Portal will offer additional solicitation information and submittal requirements. Attendance at Industry Day is not required to submit a proposal but is highly encouraged.
The Susquehanna River Rail Bridge was identified on the recently released Northeast Corridor Project Inventory list issued by the Federal Railroad Administration. The project is one of several major infrastructure projects that Amtrak’s newest department, Capital Delivery, is advancing. Earlier this year, procurement launches were announced for the replacement of the B&P Tunnel in Maryland and the Connecticut River Bridge. Amtrak will continue announcing similar procurement opportunities in the coming months.