The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 09 May 2014 12:29cat

Hudson River Rail Tunnels Have 20 Years Left in Life Expectancy

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The Hudson River Amtrak tunnels have 20 years left in their life expectancy The Hudson River Amtrak tunnels have 20 years left in their life expectancy Cook County Record

Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman recently stated that the two rail tunnels under the Hudson River in New York have less than 20 years left in their life expectancy before they need to be shut down. He states that he does not know the exact amount of time Amtrak has before the century-old tunnels need to close, but it could be less than 20 years. New tunnels will take approximately 7 to 9 years to complete once the project is officially agreed upon. Boardman would like to quickly resume planning for the multi-billion dollar tunnel replacements.

In 2010, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie canceled the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) tunnel project, citing the project’s cost and potential for cost overruns.  The ARC project would have cost $12.4 billion and it would have added two additional tunnels below the Hudson. The extra tunnels would have doubled trans-Hudson’s rail capacity, and the project would have also created 202,000 direct jobs. The funding for ARC project was shifted to the Pulaski Skyway redevelopment and other area infrastructure projects.

Amtrak is currently planning a new tunnel project called Gateway that could be completed by 2030. The project was unveiled in February 2011 after ARC’s cancelation. However, the project does not currently have any funding. Renovating the existing tunnels is also not feasible due to the higher costs than building new tunnels and the effects construction would have on Amtrak operations.

The Regional Plan Association hosted the conference were Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman made his remarks. After hearing Boardman speak, the Regional Plan Association’s executive director Tom Wright stated, “I’ve been hearing abstractly people at Amtrak and other people at New Jersey Transit say for years the tunnels are over 100 years old and we have to be worried about them.  To actually have Joe put something concrete on the table, less than 20 years … Within my office, there was a level of, ‘Wow, this is really serious.'”

Sources: NJ.comBusiness Week

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