The US$1bn southern approach package is the first of three major construction contracts for the tunnel replacement programme. It consists primarily of the open cut excavation to the south portal to the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel and construction of the new West Baltimore MARC Station. It will be completed under a Construction Manager At-Risk delivery approach.

The B&P Tunnel Replacement Program will modernise and transform a four-mile (6.4km) section of the Northeast Corridor. It includes the construction of two new high-capacity tubes for electrified passenger trains, new roadway and railroad bridges, new rail systems and track, and a new station at West Baltimore.

The existing 1.4-mile (2.25km) B&P Tunnel, connecting Baltimore’s Penn Station to Washington and Virginia, is nearly 150 years old and Amtrak’s oldest tunnel. It suffers from a variety of age-related issues such as excessive water infiltration, a deteriorating structure, and a sinking floor. There are no fire and life safety systems and excessive costly maintenance is required. The state of the tunnel means more than 10% of weekday trains are delayed.

“This is a major milestone for the B&P Tunnel Replacement Program and this contract includes several critical elements of the project,” said Amtrak’s executive vice-president of capital delivery, Laura Mason. “Amtrak will be procuring multiple construction contracts as part of the program, which will include the construction of the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel, and other supporting investments, such as new bridges and railroad infrastructure, improving this vital stretch of the Northeast Corridor for generations to come.”

Letters of interest must be received by Amtrak by close of business on July 8, 2022. It is anticipated a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued in August 2022.

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