VPRA Seeks Construction Partners for Long Bridge Project

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor, Railway Age
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The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) announced March 29 that it has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) seeking qualified design-build teams for the north end of the Long Bridge project.

According to VPRA, this milestone “represents a major step” in moving forward the largest project in the Commonwealth’s Transforming Rail in Virginia (TRV), a 10-year initiative through which the Commonwealth will “acquire railroad corridors and upgrade them, increasing rail capacity with a portfolio of capital projects designed to improve reliability and increase rail service in Virginia.”

Through TRV, VPRA says the Commonwealth will:

  • Double the state-supported Amtrak service between Washington, DC and Richmond, resulting in near-hourly service along this corridor.
  • Increase Amtrak service to Roanoke, Newport News and Norfolk.
  • Extend Amtrak service from Roanoke to the New River Valley (Christiansburg) and construct a new passenger station and platform.
  • Increase VRE Fredericksburg Line service by 75% and add new late-night and weekend service.

The current Long Bridge, VPRA says, is a 117-year-old railroad bridge that regularly operates at 98% capacity and is a “chokepoint” for rail traffic along the east coast. Additional capacity is necessary to meet future demand.

The overall VPRA-led Long Bridge Project, which consists of two procurement packages, a North Package and a South Package, will construct a new railroad bridge crossing the Potomac River, adjacent to the existing Long Bridge, connecting Virginia to Washington, DC.

The new bridge will be a modern two-track bridge and will allow for the separation of passenger and freight rail traffic, improving trip times and on-time performance for both along the corridor.

The Long Bridge Project-North Package RFQ, VPRA says, is the first step of a two-step procurement process for final design and construction of the project. As a first step, teams provide their qualifications and VPRA will create a shortlist of the most qualified firms. As the second step, shortlisted teams will submit full proposals to design and construct the project.

The North Package, VPRA says, does not include the construction of the new bridge over the river but encompasses the area from the new bridge’s northern abutment moving north to L’Enfant interlocking near L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, DC. This package includes the construction of several smaller bridges within the project footprint, including:

  • A new rail bridge over the WMATA Portal/I-395.
  • Replacement of the existing two-track Ohio Drive SW Rail Bridge with a four-track bridge.
  • Replacement of the existing two-track Washington Channel Rail Bridge with a four-track bridge.
  • Replacement of the existing two-track Maine Avenue SW Rail Bridge with a four-track bridge.
  • Replacement of the Maine Avenue SW Pedestrian Bridge.

“The Long Bridge Project-North Package RFQ represents the beginning of a generational project to change transportation in the Commonwealth,” said VPRA Executive Director DJ Stadtler. “Building this bridge and all of the accompanying infrastructure is vital for the future of not just rail travel, but all travel on the east coast because it will add capacity for passenger rail and for freight rail and will lessen the burden on the congested I-95 corridor. It will increase mobility in Virginia and through Virginia, all along the east coast.”

Red line indicates Long Bridge Project-North Package

No work in the Potomac River is anticipated to be included in the Long Bridge Project–North Package.  Submissions are due on or before May 5, 2023, at 2 PM EST. The RFQ is available here.

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