Alexandria Railroad Bridge Replacement

Page archived as of November 17, 2015

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and CSX Transportation (CSXT), partnering with Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and Amtrak, are working to improve VRE and Amtrak service by constructing an additional railroad track. Please pardon the minor disturbance during our efforts to reduce congestion and make passenger rail service more reliable in Virginia.

NOTICE:  Due to the construction of a new rail line, and track maintenance between Fredericksburg and Washington the Alexandria community may continue to hear trains blowing their horns this spring. Federal law requires trains to blow their horns for the safety of workers and passengers whenever trains enter a track construction zone.

What's New

Project Background

The bridge replacement is part of a larger effort to construct a third “mainline” railroad track between the Fredericksburg, Virginia and Washington, DC. Specifically the Alexandria Railroad Bridge replacement is the link between seven miles of new “mainline” beginning at the Franconia-Springfield VRE station in Fairfax County and continuing to Alexandria Union Station.

Railroad Bridge Replacment Map imageThe project involves removing the existing 100-year-old, single-track CSXT railroad bridge over Norfolk Southern (NS) tracks adjacent to Cameron Run and replacing it with a new double-track railroad bridge. The current bridge, built in 1904 only has one track, and the additional track is needed to facilitate more frequent and reliable Amtrak and VRE service.

The new bridge will be assembled on the construction site adjacent to the existing bridge, and once complete, the existing bridge will be removed and the new bridge will literally be “rolled” into place during a brief (3-day) track outage.

The new bridge will be constructed of more than two million pounds of steel and have more than 12,000 bolts—truly an engineering marvel.

Project Location

The bridge replacement will take place where the CSXT tracks pass over the Norfolk Southern tracks northwest of Cameron Run Regional Park. The closest street address to the project is 4500 Wheeler Avenue. The Cameron Run Bridge does not actually cross over Cameron Run.

Anticipated Replacement Schedule

The bridge replacement project may be broken down into five major work phases. Preparation for the project began on October 15, 2009, and replacing the bridge and follow-up work will last through the spring of 2010. However, the vast majority of the work described below will have no noticeable impact on surrounding neighborhoods.

The dates offered here are approximate and subject to change due to typical construction contingencies, including weather.

  • Mobilization: This phase began on October 15, 2009, and will last up to one month. Work during this stage will be to prepare the project area, including site clearing, crane delivery and assembly, as well as material delivery.
  • Pre Change-out: This phase of construction is scheduled to last up to four months, and will likely have the greatest impact on neighboring communities. Work during this phase will include delivery and assembly of the proposed bridge span and substructure (abutment and pier) construction. In order to build the new bridge, the contractor will construct a temporary steel structure on which the bridge will be assembled before prior to the planned roll-in. Beginning in mid-November, the contractor will be driving piles for a limited period of time.
  • Span Change-out: This is the most significant component of the proposed work. This work is schedule to be performed over a long weekend, and during that time the contractor will remove the existing bridge and roll the new bridge into place. This phase of the work will involve interruption to passenger and freight rail service, and the projects sponsors will coordinate with VRE and Amtrak to inform riders of the work.
  • Post Change-out: This phase of work, anticipated to last up to two months, will involve ancillary work on the project site, including a slight raise of the adjacent single track bridge. In addition, the new mainline track will be aligned with the new bridge.
  • Demobilization: This is the final phase of construction and is scheduled to last approximately two weeks. During this phase, the contractor will remove construction materials and debris as well as equipment. As a final work effort, the contractor will restore the site to its pre-construction condition to the satisfaction of the landowner.

Project Team

Listed below are the key stakeholders in the project.

  • Owner: CSX Transportation
  • Users: Virginia Railway Express, Amtrak, CSXT
  • Funding Agency: Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, CSXT
  • Permitting Agencies: City of Alexandria and Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality
  • Benefactors: Residents of Northern Virginia, especially VRE riders and commuters.
  • Adjacent Property Owner: Norfolk Southern Corp.
  • Construction Contractor: Skanska USA Civil Southeast
  • Engineering Consultant: HDR Engineering, Alexandria

Project Safety Plan

The contractor has prepared and submitted a thorough site specific project specific safety plan. In this plan the he addresses concerns about emergency communications and utility coordination, including work safety around a petroleum pipeline. Additionally, CSXT and the Contactor have coordinated with Alexandria Fire Department regarding emergency access and procedures.