BNSF bridge gets a lift
The Burlington BNSF Railway bridge is a swing span no more.
Ending 119 years as a less than 150-foot navigation channel, the new lift span that was floated in Monday will more than double the navigation channel when it reopens to barge traffic in the spring.
Crews with Ames Construction, based in Minnesota, will work over 30 hours, which started at about 6 a.m. Monday, to float out the temporary spans put in last month and float in the new lift span.
The temporary spans will be relocated to make room for the new lift span.
During the 30-hour window of switching out of the spans, the bridge will be closed to train traffic. The navigation channel was closed last week to allow construction to continue on the bridge.
The bridge is expected to be operational by March, when river navigation reopens in the spring.
About 35 trains a day, including two Amtrak trains, use the Burlington bridge, and each month the bridge opens 300 times for river traffic.
“This is an important route for customers and passengers, and this new bridge will give us a more reliable and improved infrastructure that reflects that,” Steve Millsap, an assistant vice president of BNSF Railway, said previously in a release.
The remaining spans also will be replaced as a BNSF effort to replace the entire span gets under way in a separate phase of construction. BNSF also is replacing the approach spans on the bridge. Construction of those spans is expected to be complete by Walsh Construction by December 2011.
The lift-span project is funded primarily through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and previous funds from Congress.