A railroad bridge across Quantico Creek to help ease commuter train traffic between Fredericksburg and Washington, D.C., is scheduled to be finished in early 2007.
Crews finished pouring concrete to form the south abutment of the bridge at the edge of the creek near the town of Quantico Friday, said Mark Roeber, Virginia Railway Express spokesman.
The bridge will span the creek between the Town of Quantico at the south side of the creek and the Dominion Virginia Power Possum Point Plant on the creek’s north side.
Driving the pilings to hold the bridge above the creek is the next step in the $26 million project that will span 1,750 feet over the creek, said John Jenkins, D-Neabsco, Friday at a VRE press conference.
Jenkins called the section of track that crosses the creek the “busiest line in Virginia.”
About 26 freight trains and 30 passenger trains cross Quantico Creek each day, said Jenkins, also the chairman of the VRE Operations Board.
There is one set of railroad tracks on the bridge that currently crosses the creek.
“That’s almost 60 trains a day trying to make their way through a choke point on a daily basis,” Jenkins said.
Sixty-five percent of the delays between Washington and Fredericksburg are caused because of the single track at the creek, Jenkins said.
The current bridge has reached its capacity and can’t support any more traffic, said Dale Zehner VRE chief financial officer.
The cooperative project between CSX, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and VRE will use 2,000 tons of steel, 14,000 feet of concrete and 8,800 feet of track. More than 3.5 miles of steel piles will be driven into the ground. Some of the piles will be more than 110 feet deep, Zehner said
“This is the most critical, the most expensive, the most complex project VRE has done. This is a project that will give us the most benefit than anything we’ve done since 1992,” Zehner said.
State grants account for $6 million for the project. The remaining $20 million comes from federal sources, Zehner said.
The “maximum curvature” of the track will be one degree to accommodate future high speed trains.
The bridge will be designed for a maximum speed of 70 mph. The design will also allow for a third track when it is needed, Zehner said.