The Portal Bridge is a 100-year-old, two-track, moveable swing-span rail bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey between the cities of Kearny and Secaucus. Built by the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Portal Bridge commenced operation in 1910 providing direct service between Newark Pennsylvania Station and the newly constructed Pennsylvania Station in New York City. Today, four of NJ Transit’s rail lines (393 trains each weekday in both directions) utilize the Portal Bridge. Amtrak operates 103 scheduled trains in both directions over this segment of the Northeast Corridor.
The century-old structure has insufficient capacity to accommodate future transportation needs. In addition to heavy usage by NJ Transit and Amtrak, the Hackensack River crossing must also be opened to allow most marine traffic to pass. The NJ Transit Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement project evaluated alternatives including replacement, rehabilitation or modification of the existing bridge along with the construction of an additional bridge for added capacity to meet demand projections anticipated by 2030. This evaluation was necessary to improve existing Amtrak and NJ Transit rail operations and allow for planned future infrastructure improvements to support regional growth and mobility.