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Intermodal/Freight Rail

Northeast Florida Freight Mobility Study

Jacksonville is a major gateway for highway freight with nearly all of Florida’s rail freight entering and leaving through the region.  To integrate freight planning into the region’s Long-Range Transportation Planning process, the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) partnered with RS&H to conduct a Freight Mobility Study.  The study was completed in two phases and recognizes the strategic importance of intermodal freight transportation to the Northeast Florida economy.

In the first phase of the study, RS&H identified freight generators, shippers, and stakeholders and mapped the location of the region’s freight facilities using geographic information systems (GIS).  We developed and implemented an electronic survey to collect information from various sources and also conducted one-on-one interviews to identify the stakeholders’ transportation needs, operational concerns, and improvements. RS&H found that the implementation of short-range improvements consistent with the one- to two-year business cycle would give the stakeholders a competitive edge over businesses in other regions.

To seize potential opportunities, the North Florida TPO formed a committee of business, industry, and government (BIG) stakeholders to guide the second phase of the study.  The BIG committee represented the nation’s first standing committee of a TPO that focused on freight movement and economic development. Working closely with the committee, RS&H identified the short-, medium-, and long-term improvements to the region’s highway, rail, airport, and seaport transportation infrastructure.  Our recommendations included the implementation of specific, low-cost projects that will ultimately reduce truck travel times and provide an immediate benefit for regional freight transportation.

Related Services:  Planning

South Florida Rail Corridor Phase IV Double Track

The South Florida Rail Corridor (SFRC) Phase IV Double Track project involved upgrading seven miles of the corridor to provide two mainline tracks. RS&H provided construction engineering and inspection (CEI) services for the project, which including providing full-time, onsite project engineers, technicians and inspectors to manage, coordinate, document, observe, and record all activities required to facilitate scheduled construction in accordance with the approved design documents, schedules, and budgets.     

The new track was constructed with 136# RE Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) on concrete ties that incorporate the fast clip system. The project connects two existing sidings, the Opa-Locka Siding and the Miami-Plantation Siding, which were completely upgraded with new rail and ties as part of the project. The track bed within the limits of these sidings was reconstructed from the sub-ballast up, while the track bed between the sidings was completely new.

In addition to the rail mainline and siding construction, other elements of the project included:

  • Two No. 20 interlockings
  • Construction of five new grade crossings
  • Reconstruction of two existing grade crossings
  • Replacement of all required grade crossing signals and equipment
  • Multiple industry turnout connections
  • Reconstruction of an existing CSXT storage and switching yard
  • Three crash walls around highway overpass columns
  • Three retaining walls
  • Two new railroad bridges
  • Modification of an existing railroad bridge

The project was coordinated with concurrent construction activities at two separate Tri-Rail station expansion projects, thus required active coordination and scheduling of two independent prime contractors, CSXT, the FDOT construction contractor, Tri-Rail Operations, Amtrak, and CSXT Freight. 

Related Services:  Construction Management

Jay-Jay Railroad Bridge Rehabilitation

RS&H provided design and construction administration services for the rehabilitation of the Jay-Jay Railroad Bridge at NASA Kennedy Space Center. The 150-foot, single-leaf, bascule bridge with steel approach spans carries the NASA/Department of Defense railway 2,008 linear feet over the Indian River/Intracoastal Waterway. It provides the only means for transporting the space shuttle’s 12-foot wide, 150-ton solid rocket booster segments to the launch site, as well as other heavy equipment in and out of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The five-year rehabilitation project involved repairing the existing steel superstructure and concrete substructure elements, which included restoring the steel span and concrete bents and piles, as well as replacing all creosote wooden ties across the bridge. The project also included removing and reconstructing all low-voltage “blocked” rail connections, which operate the automatic bascule closure and opening system. Therefore, the team put the bridge in manual mode for the duration of bascule repairs. The team maintained a 72-hour reopening to rail traffic at all times, as well as a 48-hour emergency reopening during the hurricane season.

When a significant amount of deterioration was uncovered during construction, which exceeded the project’s scope of work, we engineered change orders and negotiated with the contractor to incorporate the unforeseen field conditions into the work. The team also ensured the proactive capture and disposal of all industrial waste, given the project was in and around a sensitive and aggressively corrosive brackish marine environment.

Related Services:  Engineering

Jacksonville Port Terminals Multimodal Impact Study

The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) and Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) signed a long-term lease agreement in 2005 for the development of a new marine container terminal on a 158-acre site off Heckscher Drive at the port’s Dames Point location. The new Mitsui terminal, operated by TraPac, was expected to handle significant increases of container volume over time.

 In 2007, the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) and JAXPORT partnered and selected RS&H to evaluate the multimodal impact of container traffic on the region’s Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) facilities, as well as study the feasibility of constructing a near dock intermodal rail terminal. The study involved data collection and mapping, data analysis and multimodal impact assessment, and recommendations. As a part of the study, we also projected the growth of JAXPORT’s container volume, developed a container routing methodology for the projected containers, and performed a highway corridor assessment and feasibility assessment of a near dock intermodal rail terminal.

Related Services:  Planning