Union Pacific Railroad Bridge 3.49 over Ashland Avenue

Firm: Gannett Fleming

Other Consultants: Union Pacific Railroad Company, ICC Group, Inc., Sanchez & Associates, Wang Engineering

Owner: Union Pacific Railroad Company

Description: Union Pacific Railroad’s Rockwell Subdivision carries freight over a 1.8 mile stretch on Chicago’s West Side and serves the Global One Yard. Bridge 3.49, built more than 100 years ago, supports nine tracks that serve the intermodal yard, crossing over Ashland Avenue, a busy, congested thoroughfare. Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) undertook the replacement of Bridge 3.49 to replace aging railway infrastructure and improve the roadway lighting, drainage, and sidewalks.

Gannett Fleming provided structural evaluation, bridge design, roadway design, utility protection/relocation, and construction management services. A key part of the firm’s work was creating innovative staging plans to minimize disruptions to rail traffic. The first aspect of staging was the inclusion of a large amount of “pre-stage” work constructed before any track outages. Staging also ensured that six of the nine tracks remained in-service even during the planned outages. The plan shut tracks down in three phases, allowing the new bridge to be built with outages limited to only three-track, 75-hour closures, during periods of lighter rail and road traffic. Despite the significant challenges associated with replacing a century-old structure in short phases, the construction schedule was met for all three outages without time overruns.

Union Pacific Railroad Company

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