Potomac Long Bridge Project

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jis

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The 1.8 mile section bridge is located between proposed RO and LE CPs. 4 years to start construction is ridiculous. There is always the chance that the bridge could suffer some kind of derailment. Fortunately most of theold trusses have been replaced with ballast decks. But the inop swing section is still a truss. Start with a second bridge now. There are less impediments to start that second bridge than other parts. EIS and ROD are complete.. Leets move VA DOT.
 
The Wash Post has an update on the Long Bridge, I'll leave the paywall technique to others: https://www.washingtonpost.com/tran...money-work-set-start-new-potomac-rail-bridge/ The article has many interesting details, technical and financial. Well, more like an overview, but fairly in-depth.

Summary:
  • Shovel-ready, just send money. Completion in 2030 if funded now. Looking for $729m or $829m of the $2.3b project, from the federal government (it's not clear which, because it also notes the statewide rail plan is looking to fill some funding gaps elsewhere).
  • Some parts of the project are already funded and contracts are being let. Exploratory pile driving this fall.
  • The project lead is Virginia's DRPT, though it includes bridges and other work in in DC. (The Potomac River itself is in DC too.) The first new contracts will be on the DC side.
  • The work on the Virginia side connects to adjacent DC2RVA capacity work. Interestingly, while the state will own about half of the CSX track from the Virginia riverbank south to Richmond, CSX will own all of the Long Bridge, old and new.
  • Although the story reports a public event by DRPT on the scene by the river, there is no DRPT press release.
No recent news on everyone's favorite, the S-line cutoff to Raleigh (Tier II done, engineering next). Or the Blacksburg/Christiansburg/Va.Tech extension and station. Or Richmond to the S-line via Main Street Station. Those are all the projects in the immediate plan, unless committments change. Plus I think rolling stock for frequency after 2030. And perhaps Bedford station.

So that is my worry, there is plenty of news about other planning all over the US (and Canada), most of which could be considered more pie in the sky than these four projects in Virginia and North Carolina, that supposedly have a lockbox of promised state funding. They generate news because, well they are news, and long distance planning is now out of Amtrak, and there is a big pile of grants to give out, more than a year into the 5-year IIJA law. Meanwhile a majority House bill was floated in Congress zero-ing out the state supported rail program at the federal level. This is only a test.

The Long Bridge project could set a good example, if it sets a good example. And all those other news stories set a good expectation, slightly longer term.
 
CSX owning the new bridge ? That does not make sense. What happens if CSX needs to close present bridge for some kind of maintenance? Does CSX limit passenger trains over the new bridge while giving preference to its freight trains?

Will admit that the planned CPs on each side of new bridge will enable more trains than present set up.
 
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CSX owning the new bridge ? That does not make sense. What happens if CSX needs to close present bridge for some kind of maintenance? Does CSX limit passenger trains over the new bridge while giving preference to its freight trains?

Will admit that the planned CPs on each side of new bridge will enable more trains than present set up.
I have read elsewhere that the new bridge will be owned by the state DOT. So chalk this one up to WaPo's inability to write an unambiguous sentence. :D Copy editing is a lost art even at purportedly reputable publications these days I suppose. :rolleyes:
 
I have read elsewhere that the new bridge will be owned by the state DOT. So chalk this one up to WaPo's inability to write an unambiguous sentence. :D Copy editing is a lost art even at purportedly reputable publications these days I suppose. :rolleyes:
You are so correct. Read another WaPo article that had an ambiguity. How many times does anyone proofread? Every time I forget always have to go back and edit if I find the error.
 
You are so correct. Read another WaPo article that had an ambiguity. How many times does anyone proofread? Every time I forget always have to go back and edit if I find the error.
Copy editors were the first to go when the Internet replaced classified advertising. Q: "How many times does anyone proofread?" A: Zero. Is zero good for you?
 
Try this to get the information from the horse's mouth and avoid paywalls altogether.
https://vapassengerrailauthority.or...d Long Bridge Project,VA, and Washington, DC.Embedded with the above is a link to the ROD (Record of Decision) with lots of detail. I have not read it and may never. Appears to be the usual 95 pages of fluff with 5 pages of real information. Near the bottom is an aerial with the alignment. I have suffered through too many of these things when I had to. (I have also long since given up on considering the Washington Post anything but a bird cage liner way overimpressed with themselves.)

Then there is this: https://railroads.dot.gov/elibrary/...appendix-b-section-106-programmatic-agreement
This is over 200 pages, again primarily a cure for a severe case of insomnia. The long winded title is, "PROGRAMMATIC AGREEMENT AMONG THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE, THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HISTORIC RESOURCES, THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
NATIONAL CAPITAL PLANNING COMMISSION, AND THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF RAIL AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION REGARDING THE LONG BRIDGE PROJECT IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND ARLINGTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA". Seeing all the preservation, planning, and historic association names listed just tells us it will be entirely fixated on visual issues, with the general mindset that all would be negative. There are things in these that leave me thinking some of these people are seriously demented. There is a list of "Historic Properties" that begins on page 32 of the pdf file. In that list, item 33 is the "Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad Historic District" described as being "Along CSXT right-of-way in VA from Arlington County to the City of Richmond, VA"!! What?? The entire railroad is a historic district. This has to be driving CSX nuts.

In this document, going to pages 37 and 38 of the pdf file we have a letter from the GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICER where they recommend use of multiple through plate girder spans to be visually similar to the existing railroad bridge. Why oh why? So everything looks like it was built in the 1920's? When I was still there working on WMATA and their bridge parallel and between the existing highway and railroad bridge was built, I thought at the time two more tracks for the railroad would be good, and the new railroad bridge should be looking like the WMATA bridge. Then it would be nice to replace the existing railroad bridge with a similar looking structure. Being deck structures rather than through structures would be nicer for everyone and a solid deck with direct fixation track would be quieter and lower maintenance. Just for info, the WMATA bridge had a grade of 0.2% up toward the middle with a very long vertical curve at the crest which is a profile that would be quite feasible for freight.

By the way, the through truss draw span in the existing bridge is non-functional. It has been locked down for years.

Another random piece of information: The state line between Virginia and the District of Columbia and with Maryland is the low water south side of the Potomac River. Also, pre multiple merger days, the change of track ownership between the Pennsylvania Railroad and the RF&P was at the same point, or possibly the south end of the bridge itself. Either way, consequently, the RF&P was entirely within Virginia. When electrified, the power necessary to get freights into Potomac yard was owned by the PRR even though the track underneath was owned by the RF&P.
 
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Fortunately most of the old trusses have been replaced with ballast decks. But the inop swing section is still a truss.
This is incorrect. The original through trusses have been replaced with through plate girders, but the track is still open deck, that is rails on wood ties attached to the steel bridge members. No ballast. Just looked at Google Maps to be certain that there had been no change in the bridge since I last saw it in the flesh a little over 50 years ago. You can even take a boat ride under the bridges and look up to see the open deck on the railroad even to the point of seeing sky between the ties and the double box girder form of the WMATA bridge.

The extremely wide space between plate girder and track on the existing bridge suggests that the girders may have been set in place just outside the truss members, the load transferred and then the trusses dismantled. This type of structure (through plate girder with open deck) is what it appears that the DC State Historic Preservation Office wants to have. See page 38 in the pdf form mentioned in my previous entry. I sincerely think these guys need a serious reality check. Copy the WMATA bridge for a much nicer looking bridge. The designs of the various steel members in the WMATA bridge can be "scaled up" in strength to be capable of supporting standard railroad loadings with virtually no change in appearance.
 
Try this to get the information from the horse's mouth and avoid paywalls altogether.
https://vapassengerrailauthority.or...d Long Bridge Project,VA, and Washington, DC.Embedded with the above is a link to the ROD (Record of Decision) with lots of detail. I have not read it and may never. Appears to be the usual 95 pages of fluff with 5 pages of real information. Near the bottom is an aerial with the alignment. I have suffered through too many of these things when I had to. (I have also long since given up on considering the Washington Post anything but a bird cage liner way overimpressed with themselves.)

Then there is this: https://railroads.dot.gov/elibrary/...appendix-b-section-106-programmatic-agreement
This is over 200 pages, again primarily a cure for a severe case of insomnia. The long winded title is, "PROGRAMMATIC AGREEMENT AMONG THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE, THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HISTORIC RESOURCES, THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
NATIONAL CAPITAL PLANNING COMMISSION, AND THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF RAIL AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION REGARDING THE LONG BRIDGE PROJECT IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND ARLINGTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA". Seeing all the preservation, planning, and historic association names listed just tells us it will be entirely fixated on visual issues, with the general mindset that all would be negative. There are things in these that leave me thinking some of these people are seriously demented. There is a list of "Historic Properties" that begins on page 32 of the pdf file. In that list, item 33 is the "Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad Historic District" described as being "Along CSXT right-of-way in VA from Arlington County to the City of Richmond, VA"!! What?? The entire railroad is a historic district. This has to be driving CSX nuts.

In this document, going to pages 37 and 38 of the pdf file we have a letter from the GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICER where they recommend use of multiple through plate girder spans to be visually similar to the existing railroad bridge. Why oh why? So everything looks like it was built in the 1920's? When I was still there working on WMATA and their bridge parallel and between the existing highway and railroad bridge was built, I thought at the time two more tracks for the railroad would be good, and the new railroad bridge should be looking like the WMATA bridge. Then it would be nice to replace the existing railroad bridge with a similar looking structure. Being deck structures rather than through structures would be nicer for everyone and a solid deck with direct fixation track would be quieter and lower maintenance. Just for info, the WMATA bridge had a grade of 0.2% up toward the middle with a very long vertical curve at the crest which is a profile that would be quite feasible for freight.

By the way, the through truss draw span in the existing bridge is non-functional. It has been locked down for years.

Another random piece of information: The state line between Virginia and the District of Columbia and with Maryland is the low water south side of the Potomac River. Also, pre multiple merger days, the change of track ownership between the Pennsylvania Railroad and the RF&P was at the same point, or possibly the south end of the bridge itself. Either way, consequently, the RF&P was entirely within Virginia. When electrified, the power necessary to get freights into Potomac yard was owned by the PRR even though the track underneath was owned by the RF&P.
Why would a "historic preservation officer" care about the design of a new bridge? It's one thing to want to preserve the old bridge if it has some sort of historic value, but a new bridge?

Getting fixated on things like visual issues and historic preservation seems to be an example of what has been called "everything bagel liberalism" https://archive.ph/dUn9X which refers to the "avalanche of well-meaning rules and standards that slow public projects." This is a problem because the same people who want to see the public projects built also tend to support the avalanche of well-meaning rules that slow or even prevent the project from being built. It's one reason why publicly funded projects are so expensive, and thus harder to sell in the political arena.
 
Because it is DC. You throw a rock and hit something that's been designated for historical preservation. The rock probably was too.
Yes and Amen!!! Skipping many things I would like to say about some of the WMATA versus almost everything events while I was there, I will say it is an absolute miracle that the system as built is very close to the system as envisioned in the late 1960's in its entirety plus some of the dotted in "maybe someday" extensions. The total system length magic number in 1972 was 98 miles, and it is well beyond that now.
 
Because it is DC. You throw a rock and hit something that's been designated for historical preservation. The rock probably was too.
At least we should be happy that DC is only 220 years old. If this was a world capital of reasonable age, they'd have to worry about encountering archeological remains worthy of Indiana Jones while digging the subway.
 
At least we should be happy that DC is only 220 years old. If this was a world capital of reasonable age, they'd have to worry about encountering archeological remains worthy of Indiana Jones while digging the subway.
Digging of the Athens Metro comes to mind. Involved creating a veritable archeological museum at the Syntagma station.

Incidentally, it also delayed the Red Line by many years as the archeological artifacts found while digging it had to retrieved, catalogued and preserved. Of course these artifacts were a few years older than almost anything that could possibly be found in Washington DC.
 
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