Brightline shaves almost a year from Florida rail project using precast tunnel system

Ruth D. Adamson

Dive Brief:

  • The $2.7 billion, a hundred and seventy-mile Brightline substantial-pace rail extension from West Palm Beach front, Florida, to Orlando Intercontinental Airport (OIA) will see the design of a educate tunnel in two weeks in its place of just about 1 calendar year thanks to an revolutionary box-jack method proposed by general contractor Granite Construction. This is the first time the box-jack method will be made use of for a educate project outdoors of the Northeast United States.
  • The developer of the box-jacking method, Italian company Petrucco, is utilizing specific hydraulic jacks to thrust two precast concrete packing containers — one 146 toes lengthy and the other 126 toes lengthy and equally with 42-foot-lengthy sidewalls — under a roadway east of the airport even though an excavator digs out a route from inside of the box and from the reverse side. Every box weighs a lot more than 3,000 tons, and the set up will take a 40-particular person crew functioning 12-hour shifts close to the clock. 
  • Rail officers also approach on utilizing the box-jack method following calendar year to build a second educate tunnel underpass along the South Florida-to-OIA route in Cocoa, Florida, keeping away from shutting down targeted visitors for just about a calendar year in that place as nicely. 

Dive Insight:

Generally made use of in Europe for rail design, the box-jacking strategy was first made use of in the U.S. previously this calendar year on the Long Island Railroad expansion project in New York Town. In this project, equivalent precast concrete packing containers were mounted below roadways removing the have to have for at-grade railroad crossings. 

Richard Brown, project supervisor for Granite, which forged the packing containers on site, told Construction Dive that common tunneling wasn’t an selection on the Florida project due to the fact of the present grades of the roadway and the proposed observe grades. In addition, conventional design methods would have created an close to 10-thirty day period detour for motorists, Brown mentioned, as opposed to the two-7 days detour that is now planned.

Over and above the Brightline project, Brown mentioned Granite will seem at box-jacking on upcoming positions.

Granite’s $557 million part of the project is the 37-mile, Zone 3 part that operates from Cocoa to OIA, in accordance to Brightline spokesperson Katie Mitzner. Other contractors on the occupation contain:

  • Hubbard Construction and Wharton-Smith Inc., which will accomplish site planning and constructing on about 70 acres south of OIA, are the contracting team for Zone one.
  • The Middlesex Company will tackle site and infrastructure do the job in Zone 2, which stretches 3 miles as a result of the airport. 
  • HSR Contractors, a joint venture amongst Herzog, Stacy & Witbeck and RailWorks, will enhance close to a hundred thirty miles of present observe in Zone 4. This enhancement from Class IV to Class V observe will permit trains to vacation up to a hundred and ten miles per hour.

Last thirty day period, Mitzner explained to Construction Dive that a lot more than 750 workers are at this time manning the expansion and that the company expects to incorporate a lot more in the months in advance. 

Operate on the expansion’s bridges and a hundred and fifty five at-grade crossings is also underway. At the airport, contractors have laid rail and have broken ground on a 109,000-square-foot auto routine maintenance facility. 

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