New phase of preliminary engineering work begins on Gateway tunnel project

Julie Daurio, Producer | October 25, 2019 | Transportation

Amtrak is moving forward with engineering work along the proposed pathway of the new Gateway tunnel under the Hudson River.

As part of a roughly $70 million preliminary engineering project, a barge-mounted rig is drilling up to 280 feet into the riverbed to collect rock and soil samples to better understand conditions engineers will face when building the new tunnel.

According to the Gateway Development Corporation, the preliminary engineering work should be completed by the beginning of next year and will be shared on a public database that can be accessed by the contractors who eventually bid on the tunnel project.

But without federal funding, the project remains stuck in preliminary stages.

Amtrak recently submitted revised financial plans to the U.S. Department of Transportation for both the Gateway tunnel and the related Portal Bridge project, which spans the Hackensack River. The plans include commitments from New Jersey of $5 billion and $600 million, respectively.

But the DOT has not signed off on the financial plans or any federal matching funds for the projects. And the federal agency has not approved an environmental impact statement, which was submitted more than 18 months ago.

A spokesperson for Amtrak says preliminary work will continue so construction can begin as soon as the project gets federal funding and regulatory approval.