Livingston Avenue Bridge Replacement Project
The Livingston Avenue Bridge (Bridge Identification Number [BIN] 7092890) is a rail bridge crossing the Hudson River between Rensselaer and Albany, New York. The bridge is located at Milepost QC 143.1 on the CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSX) Subdivision of the Empire Corridor, which is the principal passenger and freight route in New York State. The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) designated the Empire Corridor as a High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) corridor in 1998, based on its utility and its potential for future development. The 463-mile Empire Corridor traverses 24 counties between New York City and Niagara Falls and transports both freight and passengers.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) uses the existing bridge for passenger rail service. Trains use the bridge to serve areas north or west of Albany, including Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express route to Rutland, Vermont, Amtrak’s Adirondack route to Montreal, Canada, and service to Niagara Falls, Chicago, and Toronto. CSX and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) occasionally run freight trains across the bridge.
The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) identified two feasible Build Alternatives. Both would construct a new bridge—including a lift navigation span and through-truss and girder approach spans—adjacent to the existing bridge. Both alternatives would also involve rehabilitation and reconfiguration of the Hudson Line rail bridges over Water and Centre Streets in Albany. For both replacement alternatives, the new bridge would consist of a vertical lift span with through-truss and girder approach spans. The lift span would be located east of the existing swing span within the channel maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and would be somewhat more centered within the USACE channel, which is approximately 600 feet wide at the bridge. Both Build Alternatives would also include a shared use path for pedestrian and bicycle access across the Hudson River. The two Build Alternatives are:
- Northern adjacent alignment
- new alignment would be skewed relative to the alignment of the existing bridge because of the needed geometry for connections on the west side of the river
- Southern adjacent alignment
- new alignment would be parallel and south of the existing bridge
During construction, the new bridge would be constructed span-by-span to allow the existing swing span to remain in operation until the new lift span is operational. The float-in of the final new span adjacent to the existing swing span and float-out of the existing span(s) would take place during a closure to both rail and marine traffic. Once the new bridge is complete and in operation, the old bridge would be removed.
Environmental Assessment and FONSI
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Amtrak prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Section 4(f) Evaluation in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 Federal Register [FR] 28545 [May 26, 1999] and 78 FR 2713 [January 14, 2013]); Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended; Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Act of 1966; Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations; and other applicable federal statutes, rules, and regulations.
FRA signed the EA on May 4, 2022, and a 38-day review and comment period ran between May 9, 2022 and June 15, 2022. On October 31, 2022, FRA signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The FONSI addressed the public comments and included measures to minimize impacts that will be implemented with the project. The Livingston Avenue Bridge Replacement Project EA and FONSI can be accessed via the links below.
FRA NEPA Contact:
Brandon Bratcher, Environmental Protection Specialist
Environment and Project Engineering Division
Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
West Building, Mail Stop 20
Washington, DC 20590
The U.S. Permitting Dashboard is an online tool for Federal agencies, project sponsors, and interested members of the public to track the Federal government’s environmental review and authorization processes for large or complex infrastructure projects. The Dashboard is part of a government-wide effort to improve coordination, transparency, and accountability. A link to this project’s page on the Dashboard is below.