Hudson Tunnel engineering enters new phase

The Gateway Development commissioners received an update on engineering and other aspects of the Hudson Tunnel Project during a meting of the board Tuesday.

In preparation for the start of construction on the Hudson Tunnel Project in 2023, critical supplemental subsurface geotechnical investigations have begun on the West Side of Manhattan to analyze soil and rock characteristics and provide information to engineers about underground conditions.

The geotechnical borings are being drilled more than 100 feet underground at 13 locations on recently acquired property at 260 12th Ave. in Manhattan. The additional borings were identified during a 2019 Request for Information process that sought the input of private industry. Data from the program will inform the geotechnical baseline report, a key input into the Hudson Tunnel Project’s request to enter the engineering phase of the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant Program.

“The Hudson Tunnel Project will put thousands of people to work building needed American infrastructure,” said Balpreet Grewal-Virk, Gateway commission co-chair and New Jersey commissioner. “With the dollars and loan benefits available in the Federal Infrastructure Bill and the analysis of underground conditions we are undertaking, the project is taking big steps toward the start of full construction.”

“Beginning this final phase of the geotechnical boring program is a key milestone for the Hudson Tunnel Project,” said Steven Cohen, Gateway Commission co-chair and New York commissioner. “We continue to do everything we can to move the project closer to the start of construction as quickly as possible.”

With a Record of Decision issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation in May, Amtrak was able to move quickly to acquire one of the properties needed for the project on Block 675. The acquisition was incorporated into the updated financial plan, saving the Hudson Tunnel Project more than $700 million in cost estimates related to the escalation and risk increases from delays to the project during the prior federal administration.

“Amtrak’s financial commitment to the Hudson Tunnel Project included acquisition of property interests in New York,” explained Tony Coscia, Gateway Commission vice chair and Amtrak commissioner. “Acquiring the property necessary to advance this engineering work not only moves the project closer to full construction, but also helps mitigate cost increases in the project associated with the passage of time.”

Commissioners also approved a code of conduct and procurement guidelines at the Tuesday meeting. These were two of the final policies required by the bistate GDC Act passed by New Jersey and New York, along with bylaws and other corporate governance, ethics and transparency policies approved at previous board meetings this year.