Amtrak has hired a national engineering firm to oversee construction of several Capital Region rail projects, including the second track between Albany and Schenectady and improvements at the Rensselaer rail station.
The $4.2 million, three-year contract was awarded to Michael Baker Jr. Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pa. The contract will cover construction management and inspection services for five major projects that are part of the Hudson Line improvements being planned jointly by Amtrak and the state Department of Transportation.
The contract will cover an estimated $181 million in work tied to the state’s efforts to develop a high-speed rail system across upstate.
“We are extremely pleased to be performing this construction services contract for our long-standing client, Amtrak, in close coordination with NYSDOT and Capital District Transportation Authority,” Michael Brescia, Baker’s principal-in-charge, said in a news release.
“This program, comprised of five projects, is vital to Albany’s regional mobility and represents the most significant capital rail improvement in over 20 years,” he said.
The projects will allow for increasing track speeds, better systems reliability and more operational flexibility, Brescia said.
The projects include the long-planned $91 million construction of a second track from the Rensselaer Amtrak station to Schenectady, with construction scheduled to start this summer.
Also included in the contract is construction of a fourth track and platform extensions at the Rensselaer station, at an estimated cost of $50.5 million. There will also be communications and signals upgrades south of Albany, and grade crossing improvements.
The projects are currently out to bid. Work is expected to start this year and last through 2016.
Baker has previously worked on Amtrak projects in Trenton, N.J.; Wilmington, Del.; Seattle, Wash.; and Elizabethtown, Pa. The company was PennDOT’s program manager for construction of Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.