NJ Transit awards contract for Long Slip project; begins construction at four stations in partnership with Amtrak

Oct. 17, 2019
The station work will occur through 2020 while the Long Slip project will provide the system with better resilience in the face of extreme weather events.

New Jersey (NJ) Transit is progressing work at four stations through a renewed partnership with Amtrak and awarded a contract that will allow it to recover more quickly from storm events.  

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia and NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett kicked off the fall 2019 construction work at four New Jersey train stations. These projects will invest in improvements at New Brunswick, Trenton Transit Center, Princeton Junction and Elizabeth Stations. NJ Transit and Amtrak worked to strengthen their partnership this year and the work on the entities explain that the work on the stations demonstrates a joint commitment to improving the customer and travel experience throughout the state.

“A modern, safe and reliable mass transit system is the foundation our state needs to grow our economy and reclaim our historic role as the state of innovation,” said Gov. Murphy. “The most forward-thinking organizations want to locate where both infrastructure and accessibility to capital markets and consumers are strong. These improvements announced today can help propel New Jersey to the top of any business leader’s list. The growing collaboration between Amtrak and NJ Transit is a win-win for our commuters and our economic future.”

“Amtrak, Governor Murphy and NJ Transit are working together to keep our promises to the traveling public and provide an improved customer experience throughout New Jersey,” Coscia said. “The start of these station projects reflects our joint commitment to our customers to improve our stations, infrastructure and the safety of our customers.”

“Before I joined NJ Transit in February 2018, NJ Transit’s relationship with Amtrak was fractured, to say the least. I'm pleased to report that today our partnership with Amtrak is stronger than ever,” Corbett said. “With Governor Murphy’s support, we are proud to finalize a new agreement with Amtrak that has not only resulted in projects along the Northeast Corridor advancing far more smoothly, but ensures that Amtrak is investing those dollars in New Jersey infrastructure improvements to benefit NJ Transit customers.”

The work is set to take place throughout fall 2019 and early 2020. Specifics of the projects at each station include the following:

  • New Brunswick Station – Improvements to the elevator system; an extension of the eastbound platform for extra boarding capacity; significant rehabilitation of the station’s exterior brick façade; installation of new lighting, windows, HVAC system and escalator; and a paint refresh.
  • Elizabeth Station – Upgrades include the addition of two new elevators; updating the existing two elevators; the addition of ADA-complaint ramps; and building new high-level platforms, which will also increase the platform area for passengers.
  • Trenton Transit Center – Replacement of damaged timber boards that are located past the yellow warning strip on the platform to improve customer safety.
  • Princeton Junction Station – General platform repairs to improve customer safety, including the refresh of platforms that have deteriorated for decades from exposure to weather and de-icing agents. This includes reinforcing the platform supports, patching concrete, repainting the yellow warning strip, and general repair of the stairs and handrails.

In other NJ Transit news, the transit provider awarded a $40-million contract to Walsh Construction Company for Phase One of the Long Slip Fill and Rail Enhancement project (Long Slip). The project is adjacent to the Hudson Bergen Light Rail and the Hoboken Yards and, when fully completed, it will allow NJ Transit to operate train service longer leading into, and recover more quickly from, storm events.

“The Long Slip Phase One contract award is an example of NJ Transit’s commitment to planning and preparing for the future, to ensure that we are capable of moving our customers where they need to be during significant weather events,” said NJ Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “Combined with NJ Transit’s rapid hiring and equipment purchases, our resilience projects like Long Slip are building a secure and efficient future for our ridership.”

The Long Slip on the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City is a third of a mile, 100-foot wide canal alongside the tracks at NJ Transit’s Hoboken Yards. The storm surge from Superstorm Sandy caused the Long Slip to overflow its banks resulting in significant flood damage to the yard and weeks of remediation. The project will modify the Long Slip to eliminate it as a conduit for flood water.

“Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call in terms of NJ Transit’s vulnerability to major weather events, and our Resilience Projects are geared toward reducing our risk and extending our ability to operate during emergencies,” said Corbett. “The Long Slip project will reduce the impact of future storms and flooding on our services out of the Hoboken Yard, and this contract with Walsh Construction is a major step toward operational security.”

The scope of work for Phase One includes a sewer overflow extension and filling in and leveling of the canal to allow for the construction of a new station. Phase Two, expected to be awarded in 2021, will install six new tracks over the filled canal to service three ADA-accessible, high-level boarding platforms above expected flood levels. The elevated position of these tracks and platforms will improve commuter rail service to and from Hoboken Terminal in advance of and immediately following a storm or other event and will enable more efficient train operations under normal operating conditions.

In March, the NJ Transit Board of Directors approved a $16.5-million contract with STV, Inc., for construction management services for both phases of the project. In October 2016, the Federal Transit Administration issued a Finding of No Significant Impact following its review of the Supplemental Environmental Assessment prepared by NJ Transit.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.