Amtrak issues LOI for Southern Approach construction package of the B&P Tunnel project

June 22, 2022
The package is the first of three that will be issued to modernize and transform a four-mile stretch of critical infrastructure on the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak issued a Request for Letters of Interest (LOI) last week for the first of three construction contracts for the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program in Baltimore, Md. The billion-dollar-plus Southern Approach construction package will be completed under a Construction Manager At-Risk (CMAR) delivery approach.

The 150-year-old B&P Tunnel is the oldest tunnel on Amtrak’s network and suffers many age-related issues. The 1.4-mile tunnel is a single point of failure for MARC’s busiest line, the Penn Line, and the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Amtrak and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) will work together to replace the tunnel, which Amtrak calls the biggest passenger rail bottleneck between Washington, D.C., and New Jersey.

The B&P Tunnel Replacement Program will modernize and transform a four-mile section of the NEC and includes two new high-capacity tubes for electrified passenger trains, new roadway and railroad bridges, new rail systems and track and a new ADA-accessible West Baltimore MARC station.

When the project is complete, the tunnel will be called the Frederick Douglass Tunnel. Douglass, one of the most well-known abolitionists in history, was a Maryland native and the railroad played a key role in his escape from slavery.

“This is a major milestone for the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program and this contract includes several critical elements of the project,” said Amtrak’s Executive Vice President of Capital Delivery Laura Mason. “Amtrak will be procuring multiple construction contracts as part of the program, which will include the construction of the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel, and other supporting investments, such as new bridges and railroad infrastructure, improving this vital stretch of the Northeast Corridor for generations to come.”

Amtrak is directing interested contractors to its Procurement Portal for submittal requirements. The railroads says the LOI must be complete for interested contractors interested to be eligible to receive the Request For Proposals that will be issued for this portion of the project later this year. Amtrak explains it will issue the RFP only to those contractors who have submitted timely and compliant LOIs.

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.