AMTRAK has announced that it will start procurement in early 2023 for a design-bid-build contract to replace the Connecticut River Bridge, located between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme on the New York - Boston section of the Northeast Corridor (NEC).

The $US 500m project is being financed by Amtrak, Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Amtrak intends to award the contract in late 2023 for work to start in early 2024.

The present structure taking the NEC over the Connecticut River dates from 1907 and is used by Shore Line East commuter services supported by CTDOT and freight trains as well as Amtrak long-distance passenger trains.

The new structure will accommodate a double-track, electrified main line and will have a “resilient” movable section to enable shipping to pass through. The replacement bridge is expected to have a useful life of 150 years.

The project includes new track, signalling, catenary, power supply and communications systems. The selected contractor will also perform any mitigation required during the process of obtaining planning and environmental consent.

The new Connecticut River Bridge is one of the major infrastructure projects that are now being taken forward by Amtrak’s new Capital Delivery department, responsible for developing and executing all non-recurring and non-IT capital projects.

Amtrak currently has over $US 40bn of investment projects under development, including new rolling stock, major station programmes and third-party projects.

Other major infrastructure projects include replacing Amtrak’s oldest inherited tunnel under Baltimore, where a new NEC alignment with twin bore tunnels will be built. Amtrak says that similar procurement opportunities will be announced in the coming months.

“The Connecticut River Bridge is an essential part of the Northeast Corridor’s busy rail line, and in dire need of repairs,” says Mr Richard Blumenthal, US senator for Connecticut. “I have proudly fought for federal support of Connecticut’s rail to make these types of upgrades possible and to improve rail service for the traveling public.”

“Thanks to the Federal Railroad Administration’s and the Connecticut federal delegation’s continued support of Connecticut’s rail infrastructure and our ongoing partnership with Amtrak, much-needed improvements to the Connecticut River Bridge are on the horizon,” says Connecticut transportation Commissioner, Mr Joe Giulietti.

“This area is a critical piece of infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor, and through this project, services will improve, and speeds will increase.”

“Building a new Connecticut River Bridge is one of several projects Amtrak is advancing that signifies we’re in a new era for rail,” said Ms Laura Mason, executive vice-president for capital delivery at Amtrak.

“We thank our partners for their support, and we look forward to awarding the contract so we can get shovels in the ground for a project that will improve reliability of the NEC and train travel in Connecticut and beyond.”