ON JUNE 11 the NJ Transit board of directors awarded three contracts totalling US$90m for work on the 1·6 km extension of the Newark City Subway light rail line from Penn station to Broad Street, which is due to open in 2005. Executive Director George D Warrington said the decision ’allows us to get the shovels in the ground’.

Two contracts cover completion of utilities relocation work in the centre of Newark, construction of the trackbed and stations, and installation of signalling and overhead power supplies for the extension. A separate $18·5m contract covers modernisation of tunnel and station ventilation equipment in the existing 1·9 km subway and installation of ventilation on a 260m tunnel on the extension.

H Pittsburgh operator Port Authority Transit has been given approval by the Federal Transit Administration to start detailed design of the North Shore Connector project to extend the light rail network under the Allegheny river, with a branch to serve the David L Lawrence Conference Centre. Design work by DMJM+Harris Inc is expected to be completed within a year, and the $389m extension is due to open in 2007.