Emergency Rail Bridge Design on the Turkey River
2019 Project Featured in Railway Track & Structures Shows Power of Perseverance and Ingenuity
In the dark on the night of March 14, 2019, a wall of ice and water raced downstream on the Turkey River in Iowa and slammed into Bridge 71.61 on Canadian Pacific’s Marquette Subdivision main line. Almost half of the bridge was lifted off its bearings and thrown into the river, leaving a 400-foot gap.
Over the next 12 and a half days, a team of Canadian Pacific engineers, HDR rail experts and other consultants worked around the clock to take stock of the damage, find material for new spans, design a temporary bridge and construct it. During that time, crews overcame high water, difficult access, soft soils and scarce materials to restore service. Less than two weeks after the damage, CP train 691 eased across a repaired bridge over the Turkey River.
HDR Rail Section Manager Michael Keller, P.E. and Senior Rail Bridge Engineer Jeff Johnson, P.E. along with Canadian Pacific project engineers, recounted how the project came together in a new article for Railway Track & Structures. The emergency effort shows the leadership skills, flexibility and innovation needed to restore service quickly after a bridge washout.
Read how it all came together in "Triumph on the Turkey River," in the May 2021 issue of Railway Track & Structures.