Biersdorf & Associates file number: 3011 and 3024
The statistics and general project info contained below was provided by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
It’s no surprise that New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) ridership quadrupled over the past 20 years and that it is expected to double again over the next 20 years. Since 1984, NJ Transit’s rail passenger ridership into New York City has grown from 10 million to 46 million trips per year.
This aggressive increase in ridership has caused significant overcrowding in Penn Station and its tunnels. At peak times, the 3 railroads serving Penn Station (NJ Transit, Long Island Rail Road and Amtrack) deliver 61 trains per hour; many carrying 1500 or more passengers into a station that was not even designed for commuter traffic. Penn Station does not have enough stairwells, escalators, elevators, exits and not enough room on their platforms to accommodate this influx of commuters.
For those readers not aware of the current structure of the rail lines into New York City, you should know that the entire commuter rail system between New Jersey and New York reduces to a slim, two-track century year old rail line under the Hudson River.
Currently, the existing trans-Hudson commuter options are used beyond their functional limits during peak travel times, and therefore create delays in the upwards of 30-60 minutes. As structured today, the trans-Hudson transportation system will not sustain the increase in ridership expected over the next 20 years.
In response to the dilapidated transit conditions, the ARC Project (Access to the Regions Core), a mass transit initiative, was spearheaded by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to increase rail capacity into Midtown Manhattan, and to improve regional connectivity. The Mass Transit Tunnel will be constructed deep underground in order to accommodate existing building foundations, current subway tunnels and underground utility lines. The tunnel will stretch from Kearny Yards, New Jersey to 34th Street in Manhattan.
The project consists of constructing 2 new tracks in the Meadowlands, two new single-track commuter rail lines under the Hudson River into the Manhattan, and the expansion of Penn Station under 34th Street with new platforms, a mezzanine, and entrances at 6th and 8th Avenue.
Upon completion, passengers will have direct pedestrian connections to 14 subway lines, the Long Island Rail Road, Amtrck and PATH services. Also, capacity and a connection to the main Bergen County, Pascack Valley and Port Jervis lines will allow for transfer-free service to Penn Station New York.
As provided by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, following is a project overview map:
Construction of the tunnel began in 2009 in New Jersey, and is expected to begin later this year at the shaft site in Manhattan at 12th Avenue and 28th Street. Construction at other major shaft sites is not expected to begin until 2011. Major tunneling should begin in 2010, and detailed construction schedules regarding the rest of the project are currently being developed.
The construction of this project will require the acquisition of private property and the filing of restrictive declarations. We will discuss these facts and issues in the next blog.
For information Regarding the Project, please visit the Arc Tunnel project website.