Officials make recommendation for Hudson River Tunnels

17 April 2017

US - The Federal Railroad Administration and New Jersey Transit have identified a preferred alternative for examination in the EIS for new tunnels under the Hudson River, it was announced in early April.

The preferred alternative comprises 12,365ft of tunnel (3.7km) and includes two new tracks extending from the NEC in Secaucus, New Jersey, continuing in a tunnel beneath the Palisades (North Bergen and Union City) and the Hoboken waterfront area, and beneath the Hudson River to connect to the existing approach tracks that lead into Penn Station New York, as well as rehabilitation of the existing tunnel once the new tunnel is complete. Of the tunnel’s total length 5,099ft (1.55km) would be in deep rock under the Palisades, and 7,266ft (2.21km) of the alignment would cross under the river.

According to the Alternatives Development Report, while it would have a slightly longer tunnel and therefore slightly longer construction duration and train travel times, these differences were not found to be meaningful. Tunnel construction would be approximately two-and-a-half months longer (on top of a seven-year schedule. This option “also has the most advantages, namely: least potential for delays to the project schedule, because of the property acquisition, investigation, and remediation already conducted for the ARC project; and minimal impacts to existing transit and other transportation services; and least impact related to displacement of active uses.”

New ventilation shafts and associated fan plants would be located above the tunnel in New Jersey and New York for regular and emergency ventilation and emergency access. Once the new tunnel is complete, the project would also include rehabilitation of the existing North River Tunnel, one track at a time. Following that rehabilitation, the NEC would have four tracks (two in the new tunnel and two in the North River Tunnel) between New Jersey and New York under the Hudson River.