NJ Transit Board advances resiliency and infrastructure improvements

April 15, 2022
The board approved two contracts that include early actions for the Delco Lead Project and final design and construction of the Roseville Tunnel rehab project.

The New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) Board of Directors approved contracts that will advance rehabilitation of a rail tunnel that will be key to restoring service to Sussex County, as well as early works of a resiliency project aimed at keeping railcars dry during extreme weather events.

The two contracts represent a combined $38.4 million investment. Union Paving was awarded a $6.1 million contract for the first construction phase of the Delco Lead Storage and Inspection Facility Project and County Yard Improvement Project. Schiavone Construction Co., LLC was awarded a $32.4 million contract for the final design, construction and commissioning of the Roseville Tunnel Rehabilitation project.

Roseville Tunnel

The tunnel is described by NJ Transit as a crucial element in its plans to restore rail service to Sussex County from Port Morris to a new proposed station in Andover as part of the Lackawanna Cutoff Restoration project, which will also see the replacement of approximately seven miles of track.

“It has long been the promise of NJ Transit to the people of Sussex County to restore service along the Lackawanna Cutoff,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “The contract awarded for the rehabilitation of the Roseville Tunnel demonstrates this administration’s commitment to turn words into action and deliver accessible public transportation options and service to customers around the state.”

The Lackawanna Cutoff opened in December 1911 by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. Passenger trains ceased using the route in the 1960s (prior to NJ Transit being established), but the line remained in use by freight railroad Conrail until it was abandoned and the tracks removed in 1984.

The Roseville Tunnel, which is a 1,000-foot-long rock tunnel near Roseville Road and Byram Township, will be rehabilitated under the contract including stabilization of rock slopes, construction of 8,000 feet of track bed, drainage improvements, lighting and communication for the tunnel and replacement of two culverts and other related work.

“The contract awarded for the rehabilitation of the Roseville Tunnel demonstrates NJ Transit’s commitment to the residents of Sussex County in restoring rail service along the Lackawanna Cutoff,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “As we work toward maximizing equitable access to public transportation throughout New Jersey, I’m pleased that we’re advancing this important project in the northwest portion of our state where transit options are more limited.”

The Lackawanna Cutoff Restoration Project from Port Morris to Andover is anticipated to be completed in late 2026.

Delco Lead Project

The Delco Lead Project is one of the agency’s resiliency projects that will invest in the design and expansion of an area identified following Superstorm Sandy as an ideal location to protect railcars and equipment from extreme weather events, as well as speed their return to service.

The early works contract for the Delco Lead Project includes preparing the site for the subsequent construction phase for the service yard, Inspection Facility, Delco Lead and remaining County Yard Improvement Project elements.

“NJ Transit is committed to delivering reliable service to the thousands of customers who depend on it,” said Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “This project offers the necessary resiliency to ensure that reliability.”

The project, which NJ Transit says is strategically located along the Northeast Corridor, will be a storage area for NJ Transit’s rail equipment in the event the Meadows Maintenance Complex in Kearny, N.J., and yard in Morrisville, Penn., are evacuated.

The County Yard and four-mile-long Delco Lead are located above the flood plain with relatively no adjacent trees, which makes it ideal as a safe-haven for rail cars and locomotives. The Service and Inspection Facility will allow for inspection of rail equipment and its return to service following extreme weather.

Corbett added, “As climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of weather events in our region, this project will mean better, more reliable and resilient service for our customers. The Delco Lead project will improve continuity of service by allowing us to quickly restore service even after the most severe weather-related impacts.”

NJ Transit says the early action phase of the Delco Lead project is expected to be completed in late summer 2023.

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.