First heavy construction contract awarded for Hudson Tunnel

19 February 2024

The Gateway Development Commission has awarded the Hudson River Ground Stabilisation (HRGS) Project to Weeks Marine, marking the first heavy construction contract for the Hudson Tunnel Project (HTP).

The US$284m HRGS Project will modify conditions in the Hudson River to allow the TBM to excavate the tunnel. In the low-cover area of the Hudson River off Manhattan’s shoreline, the riverbed comprises silt too soft to support a tunnel. By injecting grout into the silt, columns of soil mixed with cement and water will stabilise the ground above the future tunnel. Temporary sheet pile cofferdams will enclose the work zone, enabling in-water ground improvement to be completed one phase at a time, beginning in the section of the river closest to Manhattan and moving westward toward the Hudson River’s navigation channel.

Weeks Marine will begin work this year. Phase One of the project, to be undertaken from spring to autumn, includes surveying and the design and construction of a test cofferdam. Phase Two, from autumn this year to spring 2027, includes the design and construction of remaining work related to the HRGS Project.

The Gateway Development Commission said that by authorising the HTP’s first heavy construction work, “we are one step closer to crossing the Rubicon and securing this tunnel’s future. Work is on-track and there can be no turning back on the 21st century transportation experience our riders have long been waiting for”.

The US$16bn Gateway Program involves building a new 3.9km two-tube tunnel under the Hudson River, between Newark, New Jersey, and New York City’s Penn Station, and refurbishing Amtrak’s existing 112-year-old North River rail tunnel, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

In November last year, ground was broken on both sides of the Hudson River, with construction under way on the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing – Section 3 on Manhattan’s west side and the Tonnelle Avenue Bridge and Utility Relocation Project in North Bergen. Five out of the nine packages that comprise the HTP are either in procurement, awarded, or under construction.