H&H is the lead engineering firm for the rehabilitation project aimed at restoring the Dock Bridge to a State of Good Repair (SOGR) based on its 75-year design life and decommissioning the movable span.

The Dock Bridge is a vital rail facility that provides rail service along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. It is a complex series of three span-driven vertical lift through-truss bridges that cross the Passaic River. Amtrak, PATH, and NJ TRANSIT share the structures, with more than 700 trains crossing the facility daily on its six tracks.

The trio of spans that comprise the facility includes the original three-track bridge designed by H&H founder JAL Waddell in 1935. When all three lift spans are fully open, the Dock Bridge provides a 135-foot vertical clearance. The bridges share a protective fender system but feature different track configurations, rail services, and individual clearances from the river.

H&H’s scope of work includes site inspection, survey, load ratings, superstructure repairs, and substructure rehabilitation to provide cathodic protection and sealing to the concrete portion and repair the masonry. The timber fender system was evaluated based on current ship traffic and the Passaic River waterway characteristics. The analysis concluded that the existing fenders can be demolished. The decommissioning work includes removing and/or modifying structural bridge components (including electrical, mechanical, track, power, and signal systems) that will become obsolete with the decommissioning of the movable spans.

Track-level rail system work includes full replacement of the track across lift and tower spans (Amtrak only), elimination of the miter rail joints, plus modifications to the traction power systems for Amtrak (OCS) and PATH (third rail). All structural steel will be blast-cleaned and painted. Maintaining operations for all three railroads throughout construction was analyzed during design. A construction schedule and estimate that included railroad force account resources were developed to plan the project properly. Aesthetic lighting was incorporated to highlight the structure as a welcoming beacon to travelers and residents of Newark and Harrison.

Under a separate contract in 2020, H&H completed a navigation study as part of the USCG Bridge Permit application to convert the movable bridge to a fixed bridge. H&H provided stakeholder coordination and public outreach as part of the Navigation Impact Report. Additionally, H&H assisted Amtrak with preparing an FRA SOGR Grant Application for the rehabilitation of the bridge. Work included a life cycle cost analysis, replacement bridge cost estimate, and oversight for Order of Magnitude cost estimates.