Rapid Replacement of a Highly Skewed Railroad Bridge over North Court Street

City of Circleville, Ohio

Michael Baker proudly provided bridge design, track design, geotechnical and construction services support in Circleville, Ohio, for the replacement of a Norfolk Southern overpass bridge (N-680.20) over North Court Street. The project addressed many issues for Norfolk Southern, including the elimination of an aging, open deck structure on a highly skewed substructure with a ballasted deck bridge of reduced length that required improvements to track alignment.

Approximately 20 trains per day carry coal, agriculture and intermodal supplies across the structure. The previous bridge experienced persistent complications with track configuration defects and slow orders for trains that reduced speed and efficiency. The project aimed to replace the existing 164-foot-long, three-span open deck through girder bridge with one 90-foot-long double track steel through plate girder span on a new abutment and rehabilitated concrete tunnel. Our skilled team conducted an alternatives analysis, preliminary engineering, final design and construction services for this complex project.

Michael Baker devised solutions that evaluated track alignment, track raise, track outage duration, construction costs and future maintenance costs. The study also investigated right-of-way limitations and addressed geometric design challenges, such as a high-speed curved track alignment and a 70-degree substructure skew to the roadway. The final design employed a finite element analysis to model the complex geometry required to address the skew and design superstructure elements for anticipated loading. The final track alignment was raised approximately 3 feet.

To minimize the track outages, the Michael Baker team employed accelerated bridge construction techniques. In April 2023, the bridge contractor deployed three cranes and equipment to move the bridge superstructure into position within 24 hours, which required meticulous planning, complex engineering and the commitment of our experienced team to succeed.

The new structure requires less maintenance and eliminates alignment defects, allowing trains to operate at a timetable speed of 60 miles per hour.

Standard of Excellence

“This project is just one example of Michael Baker’s commitment to providing effective and constructable infrastructure improvements throughout the country. Applying focused engineering techniques to solve complex design issues, our team was able to create a replacement solution that will serve the client’s transportation needs for decades.”

-Project Manager

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