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Bridges and other important rail structures discussed at AREMA

Written by Jennifer Nunez, Assistant Editor, Railway Track & Structures

Tuesday's breakout sessions at the AREMA Conference included a whopping 11 presentations around the ever-import subject matter of structures.

Areas of focus included viaduct rehabilitation, bridge life, steel bridge fatigue, bridge replacement and bridge widening, among others.

Session Chair and AREMA Functional Group Vice President Howard Swanson kicked the day off with a safety briefing, followed by many informative and well-attended presentations.

The presentation titled “Rehabilitation to Correct Poor Operating Behavior at NS Bridge DH-514-47,æ presented by Robert Tosolt from Stafford Bandlow Engineering, Inc., David Bonas from Norfolk Southern and Gary Miller from Fenton Rigging & Contracting, covered this span-drive vertical lift bridge that carries one track across the Mississippi River in Hannibal, Mo. It is 417 feet long and more than 20 feet wide, with a 41 foot lift. It weights three million pounds. The bridge was built in 1959 but was relocated to its present position in 1992.

NS in 2011 initiated a work order to investigate the source of poor and erratic operating behavior. The presenters spoke about the specific inspection tasks that lead to the identification of excessive system friction resultant from severe abrasive wear, the rehab design plans to facilitate the repair as well as the root cause of deterioration. They spoke of the intense coordination that was required to handle such a project and the challenges they faced under extremely cold conditions in the winter of 2014.

The rehab work conducted remediated the excessive friction on the structure and improved operation behavior and highlighted the importance of adequate lubrication and proper alignment at the primary support bearings.

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