U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, Fort Polk railroad repairs

Project Summary

Fort Polk, in Vernon Parish, Louisiana, is an approximately 198,000-acre military base that includes a 13.5-mile railroad system. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Fort Worth District contracted with Hanson to assist with repairing the track system, which had deteriorated to the point of sustaining multiple derailments and was at a high risk of compromising the base’s mission.

The work included the replacement of approximately 12,000 cross ties and 20 culverts, 2,550 feet of subgrade repairs, 8,150 feet of ditch improvements, the rehabilitation of 19 turnouts and 22 grade crossings and repairs to an end ramp. The project also included the installation of 9,300 feet of curb and gutter with a storm sewer system along a main base road that parallels the railroad.

Hanson provided project management, railroad track inspection, repair design and construction engineering support for the project, which restored the track and alleviated all operating restrictions.   

Hanson’s scope included topographic surveying, track inspection and a ground-penetrating radar survey of the entire 13.5-mile track system; a geotechnical investigation; the design and prioritization of track repairs; the design of all drainage improvements; the structural design of repairs to an end ramp; and a value engineering study.

The topographic surveying, track inspection and ground-penetrating radar survey were completed during specified time frames to avoid conflicts with required railroad operations. The ground-penetrating radar survey also required Hanson to coordinate directly with Kansas City Southern Railway’s trainmaster to relocate on-site railcars. 

The project’s technical specifications were prepared using SPECSINTACT. Hanson prepared project estimates using MCASES MII. The construction engineering support included the review of contractor submittals and select contractor requests for information. 

All surveying, investigations, design and the preparation of plans and specifications were completed under an accelerated schedule (three and a half months) to meet the federal government’s deadlines for construction bidding and award before the end of the fiscal year.

Sustainable elements of this project included:

  • fouled ballast that was removed and used as structural fill for subgrade repair areas
  • removed track components, such as rail, tie plates, spikes and track bolts that were recycled as scrap steel
  • removed concrete that was crushed for use as aggregate base and riprap for future on-base projects
  • asphalt that was removed and crushed for use as aggregate base and a component in new asphalt
  • defective ties that were recycled at a local plant for use as fuel