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£9bn Trans-Hudson Express is canned after costs review

A major project to construct a new railway connecting New York and New Jersey – the largest public transport project in the US – has been cancelled.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie stopped the ARC tunnel project on 7 October saying that the project’s cost – currently estimated at £5.5bn could exceed £8.8bn.

The project would have involved building two, 5.5km long, single track rail tunnels running partially under the Hudson River. Its full name is the Access to Region’s Core project, or the Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel.

Construction was set to be divided into three contracts for separate sections of tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan.

However, work was halted last month to allow for a review, following which Christie said the project would “run over budget with no clear way of how these costs will be paid for”.

Overruns predicted

New Jersey’s share of the current project costs is £1.7bn, but the state would also be responsible for any overruns.

“Considering the unprecedented fiscal and economic climate our state is facing, it is completely unthinkable to borrow more money and leave taxpayers responsible for billions in cost overruns,” said Christie. The 14.5km long line would have doubled the commuter rail capacity between the two states. It was scheduled for completion in 2018, and £378M has already been spent.

Following the cancellation, the state of New Jersey will have to repay about £189M plus interest to the US federal government for its share of the work, it is also likely to have to compensate contractors.

The New Jersey Transit Authority awarded a £368M contract to a joint venture between Barnard Construction and Judlau Contracting for the 1.7km long Manhattan Tunnels last December and a £163M contract for the 1.6km Palisades Tunnels to a Shea, Schiavone Construction and Skanska joint venture for the New Jersey side of the river in February.

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