Sawtooth Bridges Replacement

The Sawtooth Bridges have exceeded their useful life and are a chokepoint on the NEC.

Quick Facts: Sawtooth Bridges

Project Status

Request for Qualifications expected 2023.
Early construction activity anticipated to begin late 2024.

Customer Benefits

  • Achieves a state of good repair in a critical section of the NEC
  • Enhances the reliability and resiliency of rail service for hundreds of thousands of daily Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT customers
  • Increases train speeds from 60 to 90 mph
  • Reduces overall passenger disruptions or delays
  • Allows for future capacity improvements in this congested segment of the NEC

Estimated Construction Completion


Latest Milestones

  • FRA Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail (FSP-NEC) Grant Award for Early Enabling Components announced November 6, 2023.
  • 30% Design Submittal received November 10, 2023.

Upcoming Milestones

  • Commence Final Design
  • Two-step procurement process for Project Management and Construction Management (PMCM) and Construction Manager At-Risk (CMAR) contracts to begin with Request for Qualifications (RFQs).

Project Partners

Amtrak, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), NJ TRANSIT, PATH

Funding Sources

FRA Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair (FSP-SOGR) Grant Program, FRA FSP-NEC Grant Program, NJ TRANSIT, Amtrak



The Sawtooth Bridges, originally built in 1907, are located in Kearny, New Jersey between Newark Penn Station and Secaucus Junction and include an approximately 1.9-mile-long segment of right-of-way along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC).

The bridges carry NEC tracks 2 and 3 over the NJ TRANSIT Morris and Essex Line (M&E), the Conrail Center Street Branch and the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) Newark-World Trade Center (WTC) line on staggered viaduct structures, giving the bridges their “sawtooth” appearance when viewed from above.

The vulnerability of these bridges negatively impacts rail operations of Amtrak, NJ TRANSIT, Conrail and PATH trains in this heavily trafficked segment of the NEC and surrounding area. Due to structural deficiencies, train speeds are restricted to 60 miles per hour (mph).

The Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project, a key element of the Gateway Program, will construct three new bridges:

  • Bridge #1, which will be built to realign NJ TRANSIT’s M&E Track 5 further north allowing construction of Bridge #2.
  • Bridge #2 will be built adjacent to the existing Sawtooth bridges for two additional NEC tracks.
  • Bridge #3 will replace the existing structures and carry the two existing NEC tracks.

By replacing the existing Sawtooth Bridges and introducing two additional tracks to this critical section of the NEC, the project will provide continuous, safe, reliable and resilient rail connectivity. The project will reduce service disruptions and restore maximum authorized speed to 90 mph. This improvement will not only enhance on-time performance but also elevate the overall customer experience. The project will help in increasing capacity along the NEC to meet current and future demand.

The existing Sawtooth Bridges outlined in yellow carry Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT trains on NEC Tracks 2 and 3 between Newark Penn Station and Secaucus Junction in Kearny, NJ.

Built in 1907, the Sawtooth Bridges have exceeded their useful life and require replacement.

The replacement effort will increase speed, reliability and rail connectivity along the NEC.

The Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project is a critical component of the Gateway Program, which will improve rail service, enhance resiliency, and double capacity between Newark - Penn Station and New York - Penn Station.