California railroad crossing a finalist for national engineering award

Helping the trains run on time in California

The Colton Crossing railroad overpass our Riverside, Calif., team built to eliminate one of the nation’s biggest railroad bottlenecks was named one of five finalists for the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.

The new bridge – designed by HDR – carries two tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad (running east-west) 35 feet above the north-south alignment of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad, eliminating an at-grade crossing of tracks that had been in place since 1883. This not only helped to alleviate train congestion, the project also improved the quality of life for residents in the surrounding area by eliminating idling trains and loud horns while approaching the crossing.

Even on a site that featured the safety risk of dozens of trains passing each day and the need to regularly engage nearby residents, the project was completed well under budget and eight months ahead of schedule, due to the innovative construction techniques.

The organization annually awards this honor to a project that best illustrates superior civil engineering skills and represents a significant contribution to civil engineering progress and society. The projects are judged on four criteria: originality and innovation; resourcefulness in planning and solving design challenges; sustainability considerations; and project planning and delivery.

The award winner will be announced at a gala on March 26 in Arlington, Va. Other finalists are the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Project in Los Angeles; the Halley VI Antarctic Research Station in Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica; the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge New East Span in San Francisco and Oakland; and the Ward County Water Supply Project, running through Monahans and Odessa, Texas.

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