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EJE Lift Bridge 552 Replacement Visualization

| View Projects: Morris, IL

  • Client:

    Canadian National Railway
  • Service:

    Highways & Other
  • Status:

  • Overview

    The Elgin, Joliet and Eastern (EJE) Railway Bridge Number 552 has taken its share of hits. More than its share, in fact. It holds the undesirable distinction being considered the most frequently hit bridge in America. No other bridge is hit as often and with such predictability by water borne traffic. The US Coast Guard finally decided enough was enough – they declared the bridge unreasonably obstructive and eligible for alteration under the Truman-Hobbs Act. The Truman-Hobbs Act of June 21, 1940 calls for the US Government to participate in the funding of the alteration or removal of bridges that obstruct commercial navigation. This program is administered by the Bridge Division of the US Coast Guard.

    Modjeski and Masters was selected by the EJE Railway Company (owned by Canadian National Railway) to create a strategy that would take EJE Railway Bridge Number 552 off the top of the hit list. The structure is comprised of four 154-ft through truss spans, including a vertical lift channel span. Our innovative team of structural, mechanical and electrical bridge designers was tasked with increasing the horizontal navigational clearance of the channel lift span from 120 ft to 300 ft. The solution: to design a new 348-ft vertical lift bridge to replace three of the existing spans. The new bridge was aligned such that one of the existing truss spans could remain in service, thereby minimizing project cost. Full funding for project construction was not available at the time of design completion. Consequently, the project was put on hold for several years. In April of 2009, funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, combined with prior funding, made it feasible to proceed with project construction.

    To reenergize stakeholders and help them visualize the new structure, our in-house visualization experts created a photo-realistic rendering of the design. We developed an accurate and detailed 3D model directly from final design plans. We also created custom textures to add richness and realism to many of the model’s elements. Both global and ambient light sources were used to match the conditions of the original photograph. With the final design and renderings complete, construction of the bridge is scheduled to commence in 2010.

    The US Coast Guard concurred with EJE’s selection of Modjeski and Masters for this alteration. Our long-term relationship with the Coast Guard is founded on our successful completion of previous Truman-Hobbs Act projects. When this project is finished, one of the worst obstructions to navigation on the inland waterways will be eliminated. And so will the unenviable record of hits held by EJE Railway Bridge Number 552.
  • Description

    Tasks Performed
    • Replacement Structure – Design (Conceptual, Preliminary & Final)
    • Railroad Services
    • Electrical/Mechanical Design
    • Design Visualization
    • Green Engineering
    • Construction Support

    Bridge Geometry
    • Main Span – 348 feet
    • Horizontal Clearance – 300 feet
    • Vertical Clearance – 56 feet
    • Tracks on Structure – Two railroad tracks
  • Testimonial

    “The EJ&E Bridge is currently the biggest safety concern for ship traffic on the nearly 300 mile long Illinois River. Ensuring the safe transit of goods up and down this critical national waterway is vital to the economy of Illinois, the Midwest and beyond. This important bridge project will quickly put people to work, enhance navigation and improve safety along our nation's waterways.”Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL)
  • Credits

    Donald F. Sorgenfrei, PE (Principal In Charge)
    Ralph J. Eppehimer, PE (Construction Project Manager)
    Tsu “Norm” Soong, PE, PLS (Project Manager)
    David W. Petermeier, PE, SE (Deputy Project Manager)
    David A. Kanger, PE (Lead Engineer)
    Lance V. Borden, PE (Electrical Lead)
    Jeff W. Newman, PE (Mechanical Lead)
    Jason E. Schade, PE, SE (Project Engineer)