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Amtrak’s Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program Begins Demolition

One of the largest transportation infrastructure investments on the East Coast has begun demolition in Baltimore. Amtrak’s $6 billion Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program has entered a new phase, along with major construction activities set to begin later this year.

Many Baltimoreans are familiar with the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program, which has been developed, reviewed and refined over the years. The overall program will modernize and transform a 10-mile section of the Northeast Corridor, America’s busiest passenger railroad. It will unlock the biggest rail bottleneck between Washington, D.C. and New Jersey, improving reliability and travel times for millions of people while also upgrading local infrastructure in the West Baltimore area, like replacing the Edmondson and Lafayette Street Bridges.

The centerpiece is a new tunnel named after civil rights leader and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, a Maryland native. Amtrak is also building a new ADA-accessible West Baltimore MARC station, five new roadway and railroad bridges, new rail infrastructure (modern tracks, new catenary wires for electric power, etc.) and more.

Another important aspect includes creating thousands of local, good paying construction jobs that will provide opportunities to economically disadvantaged communities in the project area, thanks to local hire agreements and training investments. And Amtrak has committed $50 million specifically for a Community Investment Program that will fund projects in six dedicated categories, including community and workforce development, parks and recreation, and more.

Two local small businesses have mobilized crews and equipment and begun demolition for the first of 47 residential and commercial properties that have been acquired by Amtrak. The contractors are experienced in performing demolition work and familiar with all applicable rules and regulations in Baltimore City. They will also install fencing lined with screening fabric around each site. Each contractor has a detailed work plan, including how adjacent properties will be protected during this process.

Amtrak has also awarded major construction contracts for the new tunnel and the “Southern Approach,” which includes building the new rail infrastructure that will be located south of the new tunnel. Amtrak expects major construction to begin later this year, likely in the summer timeframe.

RELATED: Amtrak Awards Contract to Build Frederick Douglass Tunnel in Baltimore

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