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Kentucky Lock Addition

RailWorks relocated track from the Paducah and Louisville Railway to a new bridge to make way for a new navigation lock.
Project Highlights 
  • Installed more than 500 ties
  • Laid 11,500 feet of continuous welded rail
  • Installed a 270-foot road crossing
Gilbertsville, Kentucky
American Bridge Co. of Coraopolis, PA
Business Unit 
RailWorks Track Services
Project Description 

As a subcontractor to American Bridge Co., RailWorks relocated 11,500 track feet of the Paducah and Louisville Railway (P&L) from the Kentucky Lake Dam along the Tennessee River to a new bridge, to make way for a new navigation lock.

Project Scope 

Rail traffic was diverted from the top of the lock and dam to a route a few hundred yards below the dam to make way for building a new 110'x1200' navigation lock. The new lock, 2010 adjacent to the existing, 600-foot lock, will allow for larger barges and an increased traffic flow.

Throughout July 2010, RailWorks joined other workers atop a 90-foot scaffolding on the west bank of the Tennessee to help assemble of the 504-foot truss. A RailWorks bridge section crew of eight worked with local union laborers to install more than 500 ties. For every seven or eight 10-foot ties, the crew installed a 21-foot tie, onto which it bolted a pedestrian walkway. In late August, specially equipped barges ferried the finished truss, weighing 4.5 million pounds, across the river before placing it on 90-foot concrete piers.

After the truss was in place, RailWorks constructed 15,000 feet of continuous welded rail. They then completed track de-stressing and surfacing. RailWorks had as many as 45 people working in alternating shifts to remove the old rail and ties and install the new track, which was in service within the allotted 72-hour window.

In addition, crews installed a 270-foot road crossing at a quarry. RailWorks put in more than 6,000 spikes in only seven continuous rails, to meet owner specifications.

Unique Features 

The 184-mile-long reservoir created by the dam, straddling portions of Tennessee and Kentucky, is the largest man-made lake in the eastern United States.

RailWorks crews had to be adaptable to weather and other contractors, among other factors. Crews worked 28,161 hours – including a concentrated spurt of six days a week for three months – with no lost-time injuries.

The Corps of Engineers and American Bridge conducted weekly safety talks. RailWorks conducted daily job briefings and submitted the company's standard Daily Job Briefing forms for all workers. The Army Corps of Engineers and American Bridge were so impressed with the RailWorks safety documentation that both are considering adopting a similar format.

Other participants 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers