The board of directors of NJ Transit has awarded a $1.56bn contract to Skanska/Traylor Bros Joint Venture (JV) to construct the new Portal North Bridge in New Jersey, US.

The new rail bridge will replace a 111-year-old swing bridge over the Hackensack River.

With the construction expected to be completed in around five years, the new infrastructure will enable marine traffic to sail underneath without interrupting rail traffic.

This project, which has been financially backed by the US Department of Transportation, NJ Transit and Amtrak, will cover 3.92km of the Northeast Corridor line.

The scope of the contract encompasses the construction of retaining walls, deep foundations, concrete piers, structural steel bridge spans, rail systems, the demolition of the existing bridge, and other associated incidental works.

NJ Transit president and CEO Kevin Corbett said: “This construction award, which is the single largest in our agency’s history, is the culmination of more than three years of hard work and determination by NJ Transit and our project partners at Amtrak.

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“NJ Transit will soon begin construction on the most important infrastructure project in the nation next to the Hudson Tunnel Project, creating jobs and spurring economic growth for our region, and restoring dependable rail service to the millions of customers who count on this critical rail link between New Jersey and New York every year.”

The Portal North Bridge project is part of the broader Gateway Programme that aims to double rail capacity between Newark and New York.

In January this year, the Federal Transit Administration awarded a $766.5m grant for this project, allowing the primary construction to go forward.

Apart from the grant, NJ Transit is investing about $800m and Amtrak is paying about $260m for the project.

In a separate development, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced that the plan to build an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport has been put on hold indefinitely.

The authority said in a statement: “At Governor Hochul’s request, the Port Authority is undertaking a thorough review of potential alternative mass transit options to LaGuardia Airport.

“The agency will work in close consultation with independent experts and stakeholders, and will complete its work as expeditiously as possible, consistent with the need for the review to be thorough and rigorous. During the review, the Port Authority will pause further action with respect to the LaGuardia AirTrain project.”