Norfolk Southern fast-track siding extension

Project Summary

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. (NS) needed a new passing location for long trains on its Alabama Great Southern (AGS) North District near Crudup, Alabama. Trains on the heavily traveled freight corridor frequently encountered choke points and long wait times, necessitating meets at key points for longer freight trains. NS chose Hanson to provide survey, design and environmental services for an additional 7,200 feet of new roadbed and track.

The fast-track project required working closely with stakeholders, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), Alabama Power, AT&T and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). The siding was designed to be extended in two segments (one north, one south) to provide for a capacity of 15,400 feet for the passage of longer trains.

The project team faced several challenges, such as expediting ADEM and USACE environmental permitting by avoiding forested wetlands during design as the team also coordinated with ALDOT for abutting, narrow right of way, construction maintenance of way and unique drainage design to accelerate ALDOT construction and approvals. Because ALDOT requested an alternative to standard precast junction boxes for combining drainage upstream of U.S. Route 11 and the railway, Hanson designed unique culvert headwalls, retaining walls and culvert sizes to handle stormwater in the valley. The location of Route 11 was also a challenge, requiring the team to consider phasing construction and keeping the extended siding in service.