Alexandria Railroad Bridge Replacement: FAQs

Page archived as of November 17, 2015

Why is this project happening?
DRPT, CSXT, VRE and Amtrak identified six distinct railroad projects necessary to improve reliability of VRE and Amtrak service in Virginia. These improvements will improve existing passenger rail service and allow new Amtrak service between Lynchburg and Washington (started on October 1, 2009) and between Richmond and Washington, as well as new VRE service in the future.

How long will the work go on?
The entire project began in summer of 2009 with track work south of the bridge and will continue through spring of 2010. The preliminary work on the bridge replacement began October 15th, but the bridge work that will have the greatest impact on surrounding neighborhoods will occur in November.

Why does some of the work have to occur at nights and on weekends? 
The construction site is surrounded by five active railroad tracks. Each weekday, approximately fifty different Amtrak and VRE trains run on the CSX and Norfolk Southern lines, most of them during morning and evening rush hours. There are no VRE trains and much fewer Amtrak trains that run during the night and on weekends. To avoid interfering with and possibly delaying the passenger train service, and to ensure the safety of the railroad workers, construction must be scheduled during times when there is infrequent train service.

Who is responsible for this project?
DRPT and CSXT are the funding partners, Skanska is the construction company and Amtrak and VRE will benefit from the new third track.

Have the project coordinated with the City of Alexandria and neighboring communities?
Yes. Initial meetings with City staff took place prior to work on the bridge beginning, and the City was provided with in-depth information on the project. An on-site meeting with City staff was held on October 29 and regular follow-up meetings will be held. The community has been notified and engaged through newspaper ads, a direct mailing, a web site and a November 5 town hall meeting. Additionally, regular updates on the project will be provided through the City’s e-news lists and newsletters.

Will VRE and Amtrak service be affected while the work is going on?
Construction on the bridge will be scheduled with the goal of minimizing delays to VRE and Amtrak. In the unlikely case of significant construction interference to passenger rail service, the project partners will work with VRE and Amtrak to ensure riders are notified. One of the two existing tracks will be shut down when the bridge is “rolled in”, but that work is scheduled for a long weekend to avoid disruption of VRE service. It is anticipated that service for Amtrak and VRE will be uninterrupted on the track remaining in service.

What efforts have been taken to minimize noise?
The contractor has been fully engaged in coordinating this project with the City and the neighboring communities and is committed to minimizing noise impacts. However, certain construction activities will create noise that will likely be heard beyond the site. Where feasible, the contractor will use a vibratory pile hammer as opposed to an impact hammer when driving piles to limit noise. In addition, the contractor will arrange his operations to make every effort to conduct “louder” work during daylight hours, although some of this work will necessarily occur outside normal work hours. Mufflers on work equipment will be properly maintained.

What efforts have been taken to ensure safety on the work site?
The contractor has prepared and submitted a thorough site specific project specific safety plan. In this plan the he addresses concerns about emergency communications, utility coordination (including petroleum pipeline). Additionally CSXT and the contactor have coordinated with Alexandria Fire Department regarding emergency access and procedures.

Have all permits been obtained to do this work? 
Yes. The project partners have obtained necessary federal, state and local permits to perform the work. Furthermore a list of such permits and related materials has been provided to the City.

Will there be more road traffic in my neighborhood as a result of the construction?
The project will require delivery of materials to the site by both truck and rail. The majority of the heavier materials will be shipped to the site by rail. Most of the truck loads fall well within load limits for size, but there are a few loads which are oversized. Those loads require a special permit from the City, which has been obtained by the contractor.

Why does it seem that I am hearing more train horns?
To ensure safety of the work crews, Federal Railroad Administration requires passenger and freight trains to sound their horns when travelling through a railroad construction site. This is a Federal regulation with which the train engineer must comply. The noise will last only as long as the project itself.

Who do I call if I have a question about the construction?
Should questions or concerns arise, please contact Quintin Kendall of CSX at 804-592-2485 or by e-mail at