Challenges arise in all types of transportation projects, and overcoming obstacles is an essential part of the work we do. The Bud Hendrickson Memorial Nature Trail and Pedestrian Bridge was no exception, but our team worked diligently to manage various design and coordination challenges to produce a successful project.
From day one, the ultimate goal of this project was to provide a safe option for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross Burlington Northern Railroad’s switching yard on La Crosse’s north side. Making this crossing a reality required navigating through various challenges ranging from environmental concerns to utility coordination.
Most railroad yards are categorized as hazardous material spill sites, and this one was no different. The design process involved extensive coordination, permitting and provisions to address the potential for encountering hazardous materials. We also provided onsite environmental monitoring to test soils during excavation activities.
There were wetlands that were impacted by the proposed trail and bridge location. The design process included delineating and permitting both temporary and permanent impacts. Our team minimized the amount of permanent impacts by including geotextile fabrics to separate the wetlands from temporary fill materials.
Not only was the design team tasked with building a bridge over the railroad yard, but they also had to fit it under a high voltage power line that was located along the east end of the bridge. The designers worked closely with Xcel Energy so the location and height of the finished bridge would meet their safety and clearance requirements. This transmission line was an area where the importance of constructability reviews really came into play. We worked closely with the contractor to spell out safety clearances for their equipment and to schedule a process to requesting power line shutdown windows needed during pile driving and steel truss erection.
This project faced both environmental and utility coordination challenges, but this complex project also required significant coordination with Burlington Northern Railroad and prospective bidders.