ARC's Manhattan railway tunnels awarded
ARC's Manhattan railway tunnels awarded Dec 2009
Paula Wallis, TunnelTalk
The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors has awarded the first major tunneling contract for the US$8.7 billion Mass Transit Tunnel (formally known as Access to the Region’s Core masterplan), the nation's largest public transit project that will double commuter rail capacity between New Jersey and New York.

New Jersey-New York rail route

The Board authorized the award of a $583 million contract on Wednesday (December 9, 2009) to a joint venture of Barnard of New Jersey and Judlau Contracting Inc. of College Point, NewYork, the lowest of three bidders. The contract covers construction of one of the project’s three tunnel segments, a mile-long segment in Manhattan.
NJ TRANSIT expects to receive bids for the Palisades tunnel segment next week, followed by the third and final Hudson River segment in early 2010.
The Manhattan tunnel segment is part of an overall project to build two new single-track commuter rail tunnels under the Hudson River, doubling capacity of the two-track tunnel that was built 100 years ago and which today operates at its functional capacity. The other main feature of the project is construction of an expanded New York Penn Station specially designed to handle the customer surges associated with a commuter railroad.
The project is being built by NJ TRANSIT in partnership with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and is expected to generate and sustain 6,000 jobs annually in peak construction years and create 44,000 permanent jobs after completion.
Judlau is currently working in joint venture with Dragados of Spain on about $1.5 billion of underground excavation works for the East Side Access project to bring Long Island Railroad services into Grand Central Terminal on Manhattan’s East Side.
The Manhattan tunnels segment will be constructed under a design-build contract that includes final design and construction of rail tunnels that will extend about a mile (1.6km) from a shaft at Twelfth Avenue and 28th Street in Manhattan. Construction will begin early next year, and is expected to continue through late 2013. The contractor will construct a 160ft (49m) diameter access shaft on the western edge of Manhattan, and then employ two hard rock TBMs of 27ft (8.2m) diameter to bore 16,500ft (5km) of tunnels averaging more than 120ft (36.5m) beneath the surface to a new expansion of Penn Station under 34th Street between Eighth and Sixth Avenues.
The Mass Transit Tunnel will double service capacity to 48 trains per hour during peak periods from the current 23 trains. Twice as many passengers will be accommodated, from 46,000 each morning peak period now to 90,000 in the future. The project will also create transfer-free, one-seat rides for travelers on 10 of NJ Transit's 12 rail lines.
The Port Authority is contributing $3 billion toward the project's cost, while the federal government will contribute $3 billion under its 'New Starts' transit funding program. Another $2.7 billion will come from a combination of other federal funds, including stimulus and clean air funding, and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s congestion mitigation fund.
The twin tunnels will proceed diagonally northeast then eastward and split into four tunnels to maximize train movements in and out of the expanded New York Penn Station as the tunnels approach 34th Street.
Strong competition for first ARC contract - TunnelTalk, Nov 2009
ARC prepares Hudson Tunnels contract - TunnelTalk, Oct 2009
ARC contract update - TunnelTalk, July 2009
First ARC contract advertised - video - TunnelTalk, May 2009
Access to the Regions Core - video - TunnelTalk, Feb 2009
East Side Access optimizations - TunnelTalk, Aug 2008
ARC contractor information

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