CSX J&L Tunnel project honored

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

CSX’s J&L Tunnel Modification Project in Pittsburgh has won the Project of the Year Award from the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP) and the Diamond Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA). “These awards recognize the J&L Tunnel Project’s safe completion, sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and community benefits,” CSX said.

Completed in late 2013, the J&L Tunnel Project increased the vertical clearance of a 130-year-old tunnel running through Pittsburgh’s SouthSide Works, a mixed-use residential and commercial development. CSX worked closely with public officials, local businesses and residents to minimize noise and disruption during construction. Upon completion of the tunnel work, CSX restored trees and plantings, and invested in landscaping improvements that left the overlying Tunnel Park a more usable recreational space.

The J&L Tunnel was constructed in the 1880s as part of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad to allow trains to run beneath the former J&L Steel Company’s Pittsburgh Works Southside facility. “Today, the tunnel is an important component of CSX’s freight rail infrastructure and a critical transportation link for the Pittsburgh regional economy,” CSX said.

The ESWP Project of the Year Award aims to advance the professions of engineering, architecture, and applied sciences through its activities and commitment to public service, recognizing four exemplary projects across the state each year. The J&L Tunnel Project earned the award in the Commercial category “for its safety, cost-effectiveness, and ability to deliver long-term economic benefits to the local community,” CSX noted. “The Diamond Awards for Engineering Excellence from the ACEC/PA celebrates the achievements of member firms who have demonstrated innovation, a commitment to sustainable practices, economic value, and superior client service.”

“The J&L Tunnel Project is a great example of CSX’s commitment to invest in infrastructure that supports American businesses and growth while respecting the communities in which we operate,” said Randy Cheetham, regional vice president, CSX Transportation. “We have a long history in the Pittsburgh community, and are proud to invest here to keep the Pittsburgh region moving for many years to come.” <p< The J&L Tunnel Project is part of CSX’s National Gateway, a public-private partnership to create a doublestack freight rail corridor between Mid-Atlantic seaports and the Midwest. Through the National Gateway, CSX continues to invest in infrastructure projects that support expected increases in intermodal freight rail traffic.

In Pittsburgh, CSX recently unveiled a $50 million proposal to redevelop the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie (P&LE) Railroad Yard in McKees Rocks and Stowe Township into a new intermodal rail facility. In Washington, D.C., CSX is working closely with local and federal authorities to evaluate alternatives for the more than 100-year-old Virginia Avenue Tunnel, a major chokepoint on the nation’s rail network.

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