Arial image of two bridges crossing a river with a boat crossing underneath.

Raritan River Bridge Replacement

Our Client’s Challenge

The Raritan River Bridge carries approximately 10,000 commuters every weekday on the NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line, a vital passenger rail connection between coastal New Jersey and New York City. It also carries 2 million tons of freight annually on Conrail trains. Built in 1908, the existing bridge, known locally as the River Draw, was damaged by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. Replacing the bridge became a top priority for NJ Transit.

Our Solution

Gannett Fleming, in a joint venture with Hardesty & Hanover, provided conceptual and preliminary design for the Raritan River Bridge Replacement Project for NJ Transit. Supported on a steel, multi-girder superstructure with pier spacing roughly 95 feet apart, the new bridge will be 34 feet wide (10 feet wider than the original) to place dual tracks 14 feet apart and include two 2-foot-wide maintenance walkways. The ballasted deck, approach track, and fixed spans will have a continuous welded rail.

Substructure construction includes 84, 8’ diameter drilled shafts up to 240 feet deep, comprising 28 substructure units with over 3,500 cubic yards of concrete. The approach span superstructure construction consists of 24 spans of six steel girders per span, with a steel plate ballast pan. Additional work includes ground improvements leading up to the rail bridge structure, drainage, grading, retaining walls, and other miscellaneous construction.

Construction of a new movable lift drawbridge upstream of the existing swing structure improves rail system operations and allows river access for large freight and cruise ships. Additional enhancements include raising the new bridge’s profile above the 100-year floodplain for protection during powerful tidal surges and using corrosion-resistant materials that enable the structure to withstand saltwater immersion. Other design features help improve resilience, including:

  • New reinforced concrete piers with galvanized steel reinforcement.
  • Galvanized steel superstructure.
  • Drive motor and electrical controls.
  • Vertical adjustment of existing track.
  • Electrical power relocation.

Commuters and other rail customers will benefit from improved connections between New York job centers and New Jersey shore communities.

Key Features

  • Provides adequate structural capacity to comply with current code requirements.
  • Optimized design for rail traffic speeds up to 60 miles per hour.
  • Accommodates heavier freight trains with railcars up to 286,000 pounds.


  • Creates more resilient infrastructure to severe weather.
  • Minimizes loss of service on the North Jersey Coast Line during and following storms.
  • Improves marine navigation beneath the bridge.

Awards & Recognition

  • New Jersey Alliance for Action, 2021, New Jersey’s Leading Infrastructure Project Award


New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit)


Perth Amboy and South Amboy, N.J.



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