Thursday, October 01, 2009

UP commemorates new Kate Shelley Bridge

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Union Pacific Chairman and CEO Jim Young, Iowa Department of Transportation Director Nancy Richardson, and Boone, Iowa, Mayor John Slight Thursday commemorated one of North America's tallest double-track railroad bridges, the new Kate Shelley Bridge spanning the Des Moines River. The bridge is more than 2,800 feet long and 190 feet high. UP says the new bridge improves operating efficiency, supports growth in Union Pacific’s customers’ businesses, and delivers increased freight capacity on the railroad’s busy corridor linking Chicago to the West Coast. UP invested more than $50 million in the structure.

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"The new Kate Shelley Bridge enhances our long-termability to improve operational efficiency and customer service," said Young (pictured at left). "Congratulations to all Union Pacific employees and contractors who worked on what is truly a modern-day engineering feat."

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"It is only fitting that the new bridge is given the name of the structure it replaced, Kate Shelley, to honor a person who helped save so many lives when she was able to help warn an oncoming passenger train that a bridge had washed out during a stormy night 1881," Young added.

"Freight transportation is critical to the economic success of Iowa and the nation and moving freight by rail is a key component of the overall freight transportation network.  I am very pleased to see the completion of the Union Pacific’s new Kate Shelley Bridge that improves the operational reliability and capacity of the rail system to meet the freight needs that are so critical to the agricultural and industrial base of Iowa," said Iowa DOT Director Richardson.

The bridge's two tracks, 20 feet apart, are set on a ballastdeck that is supported by reinforced concrete towers and steel piles. Twotrains can operate on the bridge at the same time at the maximum speed of 70mph.  The first train operated overthe bridge August 20.

OCCI, Inc., based in Fulton, Mo., was the contractor for theproject and Omaha-based HDR Engineering Inc., provided the engineering for thebridge construction.