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USDOT Awards Mega Grants to Hudson Yards Concrete Casing Project in New York, Roosevelt Boulevard Multimodal Project in Pennsylvania

by: Jessica Hoover
An existing tunnel that will be improved by the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing - Section 3 Project
An existing tunnel that will be improved by the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing - Section 3 Project
Roosevelt Boulevard Multimodal Project
Roosevelt Boulevard Multimodal Project
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded nearly $1.2 billion to nine projects across the country through the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) discretionary grant program, made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Mega grant program funds projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs and will invest a total of $5 billion into the United States’ infrastructure through 2026.

"Some infrastructure projects are so large and complex that they defy traditional funding systems — and so significant that they become iconic parts of the American landscape,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “After receiving over 100 applications, we are proud to fund these nine infrastructure megaprojects across the country to create jobs, strengthen our supply chains, expand our economy, and renew America’s built landscape.”

In the Constructioneer area, Amtrak was awarded $292 million for the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing - Section 3 Project, and the City of Philadelphia was awarded $78 million for the Roosevelt Boulevard Multimodal Project.

Hudson Yards Concrete Casing - Section 3 Project
The Hudson Yards Concrete Casing - Section 3 Project — which is a component of the $16 billion Hudson Tunnel Project — is a critical step toward creating a new Hudson River Tunnel and will allow for the continued redevelopment of Hudson Yards, a neighborhood on the west side of Midtown Manhattan. The Mega grant will help fund the third and final section of concrete casing intended to preserve future right-of-way for the tunnel.

Construction is expected to begin this year on the $649 million project, which covers a portion of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) between New Jersey and New York City that carries over 200,000 daily Amtrak and NJ Transit passenger trips. The existing North River Tunnel serves approximately 450 trains each day and is the only passenger rail connection between Manhattan and New Jersey and the rest of the NEC.

In October 2012, Super Storm Sandy flooded the tunnel with millions of gallons of salt water, leaving behind corrosive chemicals that continue to degrade the concrete tunnel liner, benchwalls, and other systems. Without this project, taking one of the tunnel’s tubes out of service for necessary repairs would significantly reduce rail service and negatively effect commuters, Amtrak passengers, and the regional and national economies. When this project is complete, the concrete casing will preserve the ability to construct a new tunnel and to expand rail capacity.

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“The overall Hudson Tunnel Project will improve resilience, reliability, and redundancy for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak train service between New York and New Jersey,” said Jason Abrams, a Spokesperson for Amtrak. “The project will reduce commute times for NJ Transit riders, enhance Amtrak reliability on the Northeast Corridor, and support the northeast regional economy. It is the centerpiece of the broader Gateway Program to modernize and expand the busiest section of the Northeast Corridor — the 10-mile stretch between Newark, New Jersey, and Penn Station, New York.”

The Hudson Tunnel Project is also expected to create more than 72,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs with union partnerships for job training, along with $19 billion in economic activity over the project’s construction period. The Gateway Trans Hudson Partnership, a joint venture of WSP, AECOM, and STV, is serving as the designer of record for the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing - Section 3 Project.

Roosevelt Boulevard Multimodal Project
Roosevelt Boulevard currently has one of the highest crash rates in Philadelphia, accounting for 14 percent of all crash-related fatalities in the city. With a goal of reducing the number of traffic fatalities to zero, the City of Pennsylvania’s Roosevelt Boulevard Multimodal Project will make improvements along approximately 12.3 miles of the boulevard to improve transportation safety and accessibility for all modes of travel, including for pedestrians and bicyclists. The improvements to pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure are expected to deliver a crash risk reduction of 31 percent.

Depending on the location, each day Roosevelt Boulevard serves between 39,000 and 89,000 vehicles, 10 Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority transit routes, and approximately 25,000 bus riders on over 28 bus routes. One out of three people in Philadelphia live within one mile of Roosevelt Boulevard, but many face challenges in safety, accessibility, and congestion while traveling along the corridor. This project will take on those challenges with the following improvements:

  • Traffic signal upgrades
  • Reconfiguring intersections and roadways
  • Constructing median barriers and pedestrian refuge islands
  • Corridor access management improvements
  • Complete street improvements
  • New business access and transit lanes

“This project is good for everyone,” said Richard Montanez, Deputy Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia. “It does hit several low-income neighborhoods, and it is one of the deadliest corridors in the United States. So from a safety point of view, this is a key corridor to improve and to try to make better for all users. ... We’re also hoping that this project connects the community. Roosevelt Boulevard is pretty wide. The right-of-way is over 300 feet, so it does divide neighborhoods. We're hoping that by restructuring the boulevard and making it safer, it unites the communities once again.”

The Roosevelt Boulevard Multimodal Project will prioritize jobs for economically disadvantaged communities through the use of economic hiring preferences and will train new workers through registered apprenticeship.

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