The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit system consists of 15.9 miles of track and 24 stations and serves seven cities in Hudson County from Bayonne to North Bergen, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. It is the largest public works program in New Jersey history and the largest transit design-build-operate-maintain (DBOM) model in the U.S. It was also the first design-build-operate-maintain rail project in the U.S. This ambitious multi-billion, FTA-funded transportation project was a public-private partnership with NJ Transit.
The work included installation of 16 miles of mainline track and 24 passenger stations; an electrified double track with overhead catenary power supply; 53 light rail vehicles; four park-ride lots; an 100,000-SF maintenance shop; a 75,000-square foot vehicle storage building; and a 40-acre storage yard.
Design and Construction
To keep the project on schedule, our team took a proactive approach in resolving any issues that threatened to delay the project. The Shimmick-led team assembled an outreach team to work with the community, developers, and local elected officials on issues as they arose during design and construction. Shimmick’s JV team met regularly with these groups to keep them informed of plans and address any concerns.
For example, one neighborhood with historic brownstone homes was concerned about the noise generated by the new trains. To address this concern and keep the project moving, the team replaced windows to improve soundproofing, which was at our cost and above the contract requirements.
The DBOM delivery method accelerated segments of the project by two to four years, resulting in significant financial savings and allowing for earlier revenue service. To effectively manage the initial segment, the Shimmick-led team further separated the work both geographically and by discipline. Each of five area managers oversaw 1.6-mile segments. Additionally, across these geographic areas, discipline leads managed heavy civil, track, systems, and another area manager dedicated to overseeing design and construction of the $40 million maintenance facility. The team took the same approach on subsequent segments.
New Jersey Transit aimed to open the new HBLRT line as quickly as possible in anticipation of potential development. Under the DBOM contracting approach, which enabled design and construction to develop concurrently and in collaboration with O&M, our team delivered a new, fully functional 16-mile line just 41 months after NTP and on budget, under a lump sum contract.
Operations and Maintenance
As the operator, Shimmick has operated and maintained this transit system since its’ inauguration in 2000 under a 20-year contract for infrastructure, rail system, stations, and facilities. In 2020, we were granted a contract extension.
Thanks in part to a nearly 99% on-time performance; Hudson-Bergen has continued to increase ridership every year with a daily ridership of over 52,000, achieving high levels of operating reliability, safety, and customer satisfaction. This is reflected in the many awards Hudson-Bergen Light Rail has received. Today, Shimmick employs hundreds of highly trained technicians and operators to support this project.