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National Passenger Railroad Corp. seeks permit for impacts along rail corridor, New Haven to Springfield

Published June 10, 2014

CONCORD, Mass. The National Passenger Railroad Corporation (Amtrak) is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with wetland impacts for work in areas adjacent to the existing 62-mile rail corridor between New Haven, Conn., and Springfield, Mass.


This work is proposed in wetlands/waters of the U.S. areas adjacent to the existing 62-mile New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) Rail Corridor between New Haven, Conn., and Springfield, Mass., specifically in the towns of New Haven, Hamden, North Haven, Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, New Britain, Newington, West Hartford, Hartford, Windsor Locks, and Enfield in Connecticut; and Longmeadow and Springfield in Massachusetts.


The proposed project involves the replacement or restoration of approximately 35 miles of second track. The remaining 62-mile project corridor currently has two operating tracks. The new or restored track will be aligned to support speeds up to 110 mph. The work also includes replacement, extension, or rehabilitation of numerous bridges and culverts to support the corridor track improvements. In addition, numerous retaining walls are planned and designed to avoid and minimize wetland and watercourse impacts.


The purpose of the project is to increase the safety, quality, frequency, reliability, and speed of passenger service along the NHHS Rail Corridor and to address the current and future transportation needs of Connecticut, Central Massachusetts, Boston and Vermont. The project also will fulfill Connecticut’s goal of providing additional commuting options along the corridor by increasing the number of daily trains through several communities along the corridor.


All project activities will be conducted on Amtrak or state of Connecticut acquired/easement properties. The NHHS Main Line rail improvements will impact approximately 3.95 acres (1.81 acres temporary and 2.13 acres permanent) of inland wetland areas. Permanent impacts to wetlands will generally occur from: new cut and fill slopes associated with widening of the existing rail bed to accommodate the reinstallation of a second mainline track; construction of retaining walls and concrete barriers; culvert extensions and repairs such as construction of new endwalls, headwalls, and wing-walls; complete replacement of culverts and piping; and new drainage structures to convey surface water and drainage as well as preformed scour holes and riprap aprons.


Temporary impacts to wetlands/water areas will result from a variety of activities, including installation, and removal of erosion and sediment controls; water handling, including installation and removal of sump pumps and temporary pipe diversions and installation and removal of temporary cofferdams and/or sandbag diversions; and construction access to install culverts and reinforced concrete piping or to construct retaining walls. 


The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands. The public notice, with more specifics on the proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at:  http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.


Public comments on this proposed work by National Passenger Railroad Corporation (file #NAE-2008-2099) should be forwarded no later than July 10, 2014 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Susan Lee), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA  01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Susan Lee at 978-318-8494 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: susan.k.lee@usace.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2014-077