US inter-city passenger operator Amtrak has awarded a joint venture of O&G and Tutor Perini a $US 1.3bn contract to build the new Connecticut River Bridge on the New York - Providence section of the Northeast Corridor (NEC).

Construction is due to begin later this year. Design work is 100% complete and the project has been approved by both the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The new double-track bridge over the Connecticut River between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme in the state of Connecticut will improve reliability and reduce delays for Amtrak services, as well as Connecticut Shore Line East commuter trains and freight operators on the NEC.

Built immediately south of the existing bridge, the new structure has been designed for a maximum speed of 112km/h, a 55% improvement on the 72km/h limit in force on the existing bridge.

The moving section of the new bridge will also have more vertical clearance for shipping passing beneath it, improving navigation and safety.

The current 457.5m-long Connecticut River Bridge opened in 1907 and is used by over 50 passenger and freight trains a day. It has 10 spans including a 48.8m rolling lift bascule drawspan which is becoming increasingly unreliable, causing delays to both rail services and maritime traffic.

Construction management for the project will be undertaken by Aecom.

Total cost of the project is $US 1.3bn, funded mainly by a $US 826.6m grant made by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The remainder is being provided by Amtrak and the State of Connecticut.

“Today’s milestone brings us one step closer to putting shovels in the ground and kicking off construction for this major project,” says Amtrak CEO, Mr Stephen Gardner.

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