HDR to Design Class 1 Rail Bridge over Mississippi River

HDR will lead final design of a fixed, high bridge across the Mississippi River to replace a 108-year-old swing bridge near Clinton, Iowa. The roughly 7,000 foot bridge will provide continuous rail passage across the river while simultaneously accommodating barge traffic. It will support two mainline tracks and an access road that can be converted to a third main line if future capacity warrants. Teamed with HDR in the bridge’s design is Kansas City based HNTB Corporation.

The existing movable bridge went into service in 1909. Its open/close design allows only one or the other — trains or river vessels — to pass at a time.

Employing a resilient design, the new bridge will make use of robust, uniform structural elements to exceed standards set forth by the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association.

“We’re keeping the details simple and repetitive so if something would need to be replaced down the road, it’s an easy fix,” HDR Senior Rail Bridge Project Manager Jeff Teig said. 

Additional design features include walkways between beams for regular inspection and maintenance.

Located between rural regions of Iowa and Illinois, the bridge links the critical North American freight hub in Chicago with points west.

“The constraints of a century-old, movable bridge at this critical crossing will be a thing of the past,” HDR Freight Rail Director Bill Hjelholt said. “We’re proud to have been selected to lead design of a replacement bridge — especially one with the resilient features needed to protect operations, ensure reliability and accommodate growth.”

About HDR

For more than a century, HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our expertise spans 10,000 employees, in more than 225 locations around the world — and counting. Our engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring an impressive breadth of knowledge to every project. Our optimistic approach to finding innovative solutions defined our past and drives our future.