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Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement

Nearly 100 years ago, Portal Bridge was placed into operation to span the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus, New Jersey. In years since, the bridge has become part of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) – the most heavily used passenger rail line in the U.S. in terms of ridership and frequency.

The aged bridge is a bottleneck to rail and marine traffic. Accordingly, Amtrak and NJ Transit plan to replace Portal Bridge with two new fixed bridges – thereby enhancing capacity and meeting operational needs of the present and foreseeable future. Construction of the new bridges will require multiple new and renovated approaches, a duckunder, new trackage and appurtenant signaling, bulkheads, access platforms and environmental mitigation.

YU & Associates, Inc. has been providing Geotechnical and Environmental services in support of the Preliminary Engineering (PE), Early-Action (EA) and Final Engineering (FE) Phases of this multi-billion dollar project.

Taken together, the Subsurface Investigation when finished will include over 350 geotechnical borings, 50 environmental borings, Cone Penetration Tests (CPTs), flat-plate dilatometer tests, vane-shear tests, groundwater monitoring wells, inclinometers and cross-hole seismic test locations. Due to potential environmental concerns, the field operations were conducted under appropriate air monitoring and with various levels of health and safety protection. Special drilling procedures were followed to avoid potential cross contamination of the subsurface strata. The subsurface investigation will be used to comprehensively assess geotechnical issues such as potential settlements of structures and embankments, deep foundations, slope stability, liquefaction potential, seismic design, retaining structures and ground treatment specialties of various sorts, and to develop environmental mitigation measures.


Kearny and Secaucus,
New Jersey


  • Geotechnical and Environmental Investigation
  • Boring Inspection and Field Sampling Testing
  • Health and Safety Plan
  • Program Work Plan
  • Geotechnical Analysis Report
Portal Partners (Gannett Fleming, HNTB and Jacobs Tri-Venture)