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November 20, 2023

Amtrak Launches Procurement for Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project

Replacing and expanding 116-year-old-bridges will improve Northeast Corridor travel

KEARNY, N.J. – Amtrak, in coordination with NJ TRANSIT, has begun the procurement process for the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project. Replacement of the Sawtooth Bridges is a key component of the Gateway Program to preserve and expand the busiest section of the Northeast Corridor (NEC).

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently awarded this project up to $133.32 million in grant funding to support early construction activities, along with 24 other projects totaling more than $16.4 billion of federal investment across the Northeast Corridor (NEC). This work will modernize and expand 1.9 miles of the NEC in Kearny, New Jersey, built in 1907.

“Building the new Sawtooth Bridges requires significant coordination with our partners at NJ TRANSIT, PATH and Conrail and we are grateful for their shared commitment to modernize and bring this critical stretch of the NEC to a state of good repair,” said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. “We appreciate the Biden Administration, Governor Murphy and Congress for providing and helping to unlock the IIJA funding that makes this work possible.”

Owned by Amtrak, the Sawtooth Bridges carry more than 400 Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT trains per day over tracks used by NJ TRANSIT, PATH and Conrail freight trains. When complete, the new four-track NEC structure will double track capacity in one of the most congested and complex locations on the NEC where these different services all come together. The age and current condition of the Sawtooth Bridges also restrict trains to speeds of 60 mph.

The procurement process has officially begun with the publication of Advance Notices on Amtrak’s Procurement Portal. Amtrak intends to use the innovative CMAR approach to deliver the project and expects to issue two Requests for Qualifications in the near future – one for the CMAR contract and another for the project, program and construction management contract. A formal Request for Proposals will follow in 2024.

Interested bidders should monitor Amtrak’s Procurement Portal for further solicitation information and submittal requirements. The publication of Advance Notices helps alert potential proposers to upcoming procurement opportunities, providing companies with lead time to prepare their bids and establish relationships, including participation from Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms. It also helps to increase competition and improve the quality of proposals.

This work will be performed under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) as part of a 2021 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Amtrak and North America’s Building Trades Unions covering Amtrak’s major civil engineering projects.

The Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project is one of several major infrastructure projects being planned and delivered by Amtrak’s Capital Delivery organization under the leadership of Executive Vice President, Capital Delivery Laura Mason. In September, Amtrak awarded its first-ever CMAR contract to advance construction for the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program in Maryland. Active procurements are also underway for the East River Tunnel Rehabilitation Project, Connecticut River Bridge Project, major fleet facility upgrades and more. Additional procurement opportunities for other projects will be announced over the next several months.


FRA Administrator Amit Bose

“The Federal Railroad Administration is pleased to see progress being made on the new Sawtooth Bridges, and we’re proud to support a project that will eliminate a major bottleneck on America’s busiest rail corridor. Replacing and expanding the Sawtooth Bridges is one of nearly 220 FRA-funded rail projects moving forward since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration. Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re going to advance several more projects of national significance along the Northeast Corridor (NEC), notably through $16.4 billion in new NEC grants announced earlier this month that will modernize NEC infrastructure and help deliver world-class passenger rail to more Americans.”

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

“This has been a remarkable year for advancing the Gateway Program—it’s all systems go and there’s more progress every day including Amtrak advancing the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project. Over the summer, I announced the largest ever federal transit grant was going to Gateway—$6.88 billion dollars. And back in January, I was pleased to host President Biden here in New York when he announced the nation’s largest ever MEGA grant for the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing project. And with Amtrak advancing the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project, this pace of progress for the betterment of transit, new jobs and our larger economy, will continue.”

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)

“New Jersey’s rail infrastructure is critical to the economic vitality of our state and our nation. For years, I have worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to deliver federal funding to Gateway, and I’m proud to see the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I voted for, advance projects like this one. Replacing the long-outdated Sawtooth Bridges will remove bottlenecks for the entire Northeast Corridor, and it will strengthen our economy and improve commuter safety.”

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

“With the commencement of this new critical component of the Gateway Program, the replacement of the Sawtooth Bridges will ensure commuters traveling on Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT trains spend more time at home with family and less time waiting for a delayed train. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I proudly helped pass in the Senate, these critical investments in New Jersey’s infrastructure will ensure bustling commuter routes along the Sawtooth Bridges are reliable and safe for New Jerseyans across the state and travelers on the Northeast Corridor.”

Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Ranking Member

“I am excited to see Amtrak begin the process to replace the 116-year-old Sawtooth Bridges because they are a key access point to the Hudson River Tunnel.  The new bridges will double the current rail capacity along one of the busiest stretches of track in the Northeast Corridor.  I have been a strong advocate for the Gateway Program and infrastructure projects like the new Sawtooth Bridges in Congress.  I helped secure funding for them in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This project will improve travel for thousands of daily commuters and bring Gateway one step closer to completion.”

Representative Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (D-NY-16)

“Affordable, accessible, and reliable public transit is a human right. The Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project will relieve congestion on a critical rail corridor for my district and for the entire country. By strengthening our rail infrastructure and expanding ridership, this work and the broader Gateway Project will boost our economy, combat the impacts of climate change, and reduce pollution from cars and trucks that disproportionately hurts Black and brown communities, causing higher rates of asthma and poor health outcomes. Everyone across New York and New Jersey should have the right to reliable public transit so they can get to work, take their kids to school, and have access to the opportunities that modern public transit can open up. I’m proud to join Amtrak in celebrating this critical and historic investment.”

Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY-09)

“For decades, Amtrak has served New York communities and those across the nation as a staple of the passenger rail industry. Today’s announcement of the replacement and improvement of two bridges, each more than a century old, will only build upon that impeccable legacy. I commend Amtrak for its action, and I look forward to seeing further undertakings like the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project powered by the transformative funding within the Gateway Program.”

Representative Tom Kean, Jr. (R-NJ-07)

“The latest investment in the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project is a great step forward in modernizing transportation in our region. Improving our transportation infrastructure and ensuring the long-term viability of our transit systems is a top priority of mine in Congress. This will help enhance connectivity in our region and also create new jobs and economic opportunity. I will continue to prioritize smart investments in New Jersey’s infrastructure as we work towards a stronger, more resilient future for our communities.”

Representative Robert J. Menendez (D-NJ-08)

“The replacement of the century-old Sawtooth Bridges is yet another example of House Democrats delivering for New Jersey and the Eighth Congressional District. This development will eliminate a bottleneck that has caused delays for our residents for far too long and will help ensure a more seamless passenger rail experience. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I look forward to continuing to advance the Gateway Program and projects like it which modernize our passenger rail infrastructure while providing much-needed relief to our commuters.”

Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-09)

“In the year 1907, Teddy Roosevelt was in the White House, the Lusitania took its maiden voyage, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series, and construction of the Sawtooth Bridge commenced. New Jersey and passenger rail transportation are galaxies away from what they were 116 years ago. Replacing this corridor bottleneck and accomplishing this key upgrade for the Gateway Project will provide major relief for millions of commuters. We have fought for decades to begin replacing our ancient roads and bridges. Creating a safer, faster ride for rail passengers will be a titanic step up for the entire Northeast.”

Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11)

“Replacing and rehabilitating the Sawtooth Bridges is a key component of the Gateway Project, the nation’s most critical infrastructure project that will minimize delays, reduce travel times, and improve reliability for families traveling throughout northern New Jersey. Since first taking office, I have strongly advocated for the funding and approvals needed to make Gateway a reality. I was proud to help pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is funding the $130 million grant recently announced for early-stage construction on the Sawtooth Bridges project, and am excited to see Amtrak leading the push to get shovels in the ground as soon as possible.”

NJ Transit President & CEO and co-Chair of the Northeast Corridor Commission Kevin S. Corbett

“NJ TRANSIT’s collaboration with Amtrak on the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project is a key component in advancing the overall Gateway Program. Together with NJ TRANSIT’s Portal North Bridge Replacement Project, we are eliminating century-old bottlenecks in the busiest section of the Northeast Corridor. We look forward to working with our partners at Amtrak to continue to improve the reliability and customer experience for New Jersey commuters.”

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Amtrak is leading a new era of passenger rail, investing in modern trains, enhanced stations, new tunnels and bridges, and other critical infrastructure upgrades. We’re enhancing the customer experience across the country, improving safety and reliability, driving economic development, reducing trip times, expanding capacity, advancing accessibility and promoting a more sustainable future.

Traditionally known as a passenger rail operator, today Amtrak is also a major construction company executing the largest capital program in Amtrak’s history. With over $50 billion of capital investments in planning and development, these historic investments are made possible by the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) enacted in 2021.