Work has started on the final part of an underground casing project that will clear the way for the full construction of the new Hudson River Tunnel in New York, while early works construction has been given the go-ahead in New Jersey.

The Hudson Tunnel project includes the construction of a new 2.3km long twin tube tunnel between New York and New Jersey, and the rehabilitation of an existing 107 year old tunnel under the Hudson River.

US Government sponsored authority the Gateway Development Commission (GDC) is responsible for facilitating and coordinating the project.

A critical element in the overall programme is the third section of the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing project, which will preserve tunnel right-of-way around the future tracks on the West Side of Manhattan leading from the new Hudson Tunnel to New York Penn Station.

The first two sections of the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing project are complete and run under the block bordered by 10th and 11th Avenues and 30th and 33rd Streets.

Construction on the third and final section has just begun. This will extend the casing on a diagonal alignment from the western edge of 11th Avenue to 30th Street, where it will connect with the new Hudson River Tunnel. This section of the project is expected to be complete in summer 2026.

The underground casing project was bolstered in January of this year when US president Joe Biden announced that the third section of the project would receive US$292M (£235M) through the US Department of Transportation’s Mega Grant Program.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said that the start of work on the third section of the casing project was a major milestone as it will “quite literally pave the way toward the construction of the long-awaited Hudson Tunnel”.

The start of construction has also been approved for an early works package in New Jersey that covers the relocation of utilities and the construction of a new roadway bridge for the new Hudson Tunnel.

The new roadway bridge on Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen, New Jersey, will be located above a future railroad right-of-way, which will allow for a connection to the new tunnel portal at the western slope of the New Jersey Palisades.

Engineering consultant Naik Consulting Group and contractor Conti Civil were awarded two contracts for the works valued at US$17.18bn (£13.9bn) in September of this year.

Naik Consulting Group will provide construction management and related technical services for the utility relocation and new roadway bridge, while Conti Civil will be responsible for construction.

The Tonnelle Avenue bridge and utility relocation works, which were recently given a “notice to proceed”, will mark the beginning of the Hudson Tunnel Project in New Jersey.

Five out of nine contemplated Hudson Tunnel project contracts are now in procurement or construction.

Other work on the project has ramped up in recent months. Construction of the new Portal North Bridge, led by NJ Transit and Amtrak, recently passed the 35% completion mark.

Key funding elements of the Hudson Tunnel Project have also advanced. Yesterday (6 October) GDC announced that the Hudson Tunnel project had received an additional US$3.8bn (£3bn) funding commitment from the federal government. According to the GDC this commitment is the largest ever federal investment in a mass transit project.

The project has also entered the engineering phase of the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants Program, making it eligible for US$6.88bn (£5.5bn) in federal grants.

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