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Innovative design provides a practical solution to one of the largest projects in the CREATE Program. by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor All photos courtesy of TranSystems

2016 Dr. W. W. Hay Award:

transystems CREATE p1


magine two interstate highways meeting at grade with the only thing to control traffic being a stop sign. This was the comparison made to illustrate the congestion experienced daily by 80 Metra trains, 46 Norfolk Southern trains and 14 Amtrak trains prior to the construction and May 2016 completion of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program’s P1–Englewood Flyover project. The Englewood Flyover was the first major project constructed for the program and when it opened to traffic in October 2014, provided a concrete example of what the CREATE Program could accomplish to alleviate congestion, expedite rail traffic flow and improve safety and air quality in the Chicago region. The construction of the flyover was a monumental task, but one that could not have been accomplished without an innovative and smart design. Metra retained TranSystems to provide final design for construction of the project. For its efforts, 26 Railway Track & Structures

the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) bestowed TranSystems with the 2016 Dr. W.W. Hay Award for Excellence, which is AREMA’s highest honor and recognizes innovative railway engineering procedures, projects and products. “The flyover is an innovative design, comprising of three different bridge types, resulting in a practical and cost-effective solution. Close coordination with multiple agencies was required throughout the project duration to coordinate the design’s complexities, impacts, permits and agreements. The $131-million project was completed on-schedule, meeting the requirements of the federal [high-speed rail] grant. The construction of a complex railroad bridge project in an urban setting without additional right-ofway, under-budget and on-time is rarely accomplished,” TranSystems wrote in its award application. The primary goal of the project, located near 63rd and State Streets in Chicago, was to eliminate the at-grade crossing of 140 trains per day, which improves safety and efficiency of train operations,

January 2017

as well as air quality. TranSystems did this by designing a 2,150-foot long, 26span flyover structure carrying Metra’s Rock Island line over Norfolk Southern/ Amtrak, Dan Ryan Expressway and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red Line traffic. TranSystems explains that the flyover bridge is a dual structure, with the first structure carrying Metra Mains 1 and 2 and an adjacent structure carrying a future Metra third track. The design firm says utilizing a dual structure allowed for the construction of the two main tracks while maintaining the operation of the existing main tracks. The third track structure was then constructed after the two mains were switched onto the new double track bridge. “CREATE P1 was the first large project to be constructed as part of the multi-billion dollar CREATE program,” said Chuck Stenzel, principal with TranSystems. “The design had to be cost effective, maintain daily operations and minimize impacts to the surrounding neighborhood. The project accomplished these goals and set an example for future projects.”

RT&S January 2017  

The January 2017 issue of RT&S features coverage of updates to rail inspection methods, our annual vegetation management article and a look...

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