The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) has awarded PCL Civil Constructors (PCL) with the 2021 Small Project of the Year for its work on the CSX Florida Improvement Plan (FIP) Bridge Project, which enhanced overall bridge safety, reliability, and performance at three sites across Florida.
PCL operated as the construction manager and general contractor on this construction manager-at-risk (CMAR) project, managing nearly all facets of the project from start to finish. They were responsible for the rehabilitation and automation upgrades to the existing CSX Transportation railroad swing bridges over the Little Manatee River (Ruskin), Alafia River (Riverview), and St. Lucie Canal (Indiantown).
The project required keeping all bridges fully functional to both rail and marine traffic while construction and structural upgrades were in progress. The scope of work included upgrading the electrical and controls systems for bridge operations, installing submarine cables, and rehabilitating the mechanical systems, including end- and center-wedge machinery and span drive machinery. Structural work included upgrading access platforms and rehabilitating the bridge fender systems. In conjunction with this work, CSX also upgraded signals and communication equipment for each bridge to make them compatible with the bridge upgrades.
The bridges can now be automatically opened and closed from a remote location, which increases the bridge efficiency and better utilizes critical workforce resources. This automated process utilizes movable bridge Programable Logic Control systems that enhance overall bridge safety, reliability, and performance.
“We are extremely satisfied with PCL’s performance on this project and are very pleased with the final product they delivered,” said Chris Harmon, senior design engineer – structures with CSX Transportation. “Throughout construction, PCL met critical objectives of controlling project price and maintaining the project schedule, all the while delivering the project with zero quality deficiencies. PCL truly showed their commitment to us with their dedication of delivering a successful project.”
A key challenge involved coordinating with regulatory agencies to secure permits required to install subaqueous electrical transmission cable conduits for all three bridges without impacting the project schedule. Executing work so it did not disrupt rail or marine traffic throughout construction presented another fundamental challenge. PCL met this requirement by utilizing accelerated bridge construction techniques. The use of temporary operating systems allowed the bridges to remain fully operational for rail and marine traffic throughout all phases of construction. It required coordination with CSX, the United States Coast Guard, and other project stakeholders to keep everyone informed of the work occurring on the project.
Project engineer HDR Engineering and these subcontractors and suppliers contributed to the success of the project.
I am really proud to have followed in my father’s footsteps who shaped and engrained in me the importance of the NRC and getting involved. (The NRC) through friendships and dialogue with fellow competitors, relationships with the supply community, and with a vision that private railroad contractors could and would have a seat at the table when it came to building and maintaining our country’s railroad infrastructure … and that we could and would do it safely, efficiently, profitably, and of the highest quality.
Retiree, 2020 NRC Hall of Fame Inductee
RailWorks Track Systems, Inc.