Commuter Rail Project Costs Skyrockets to $102.8M

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    Delaware River Port Authority officials say rebuilding the PATCO commuter train line over the Ben Franklin Bridge will cost $102.8 million, or 47 percent more than expected.

    But they also say the higher price tag won't mean higher bridge tolls or an increase in the DRPA's five-year spending plan. That's because other recent construction projects came in cheaper than planned.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the PATCO project was approved Wednesday by DRPA board committees. If it the full DRPA board approves it next week, construction will begin in August.

    The plan to overhaul the bridge railroad, which opened in 1936, calls for replacing tracks, ties, power and signal systems, train control and communication systems. Crews also will make repairs to supporting structures and apply three coats of new paint.

    The work should take about 27 months to complete. PATCO trains will operate during construction.

    The winning $102.8 million construction bid from two North Jersey companies was far above DRPA's engineering estimate of $69.8 million and its budgeted amount of $73 million.

    Officials say DRPA planners miscalculated the costs of electrical work, painting, and temporary work platforms.

    The joint bid from Railroad Construction Co., of Paterson, and Iron Bridge Constructors, of North Brunswick, was the lowest received. Three other bids ranged from $114 million to $144 million.

     


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