Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

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Sound Transit's Link light-rail service in Seattle, Wash., celebrated its fifth anniversary July 18.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board of Directors authorized MassDOT Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Richard Davey to execute an agreement to purchase the Berkshire Line from the Housatonic Railroad Company, a step toward delivering passenger rail service between New York City and the Berkshires.

President Obama spoke at the Port of Wilmington in Delaware on July 17 to announce a new executive action to create the Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide initiative to increase infrastructure investment and economic growth by engaging with state and local governments and private sector investors to encourage collaboration, expand the market for public-private partnerships (PPPs) and put federal credit programs to greater use.

Due to overhead wire, track and station improvement projects, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate in the Center City tunnel from 10 p.m. on Friday, August 1, through 4 a.m. on Monday, August 18.

During the closure, SEPTA's in-house Engineering, Maintenance & Construction Division crews will work around-the-clock on key maintenance and construction tasks to improve safety and service reliability.

Members of SEPTA's Track Department will work inside the tunnel, as well as outside at the 40th Street Portal. Crews will weld together long rail strings and install more than 14,000 feet of new rail on the eastbound track of the tunnel from the Portal to 22nd Street Station. At the Portal, crews will also replace two concrete-embedded track switches. This work will include demolishing existing concrete surface track and steel, constructing new track switches and pouring the new concrete surface.

SEPTA's Power Department will replace nearly 24,000 feet of worn overhead contact wire throughout the tunnel and almost 5,000 feet of wire support assemblies and protection board on the westbound side of the tunnel between 19th and 30th Street Stations.

"This blitz concept is used in the transportation industry because it allows organizations to maximize productivity during improvements projects while minimizing the period of inconvenience to passengers and communities we serve. This is especially true when there is a single track operation, like our trolley tunnel," said SEPTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Knueppel. "Because the Center City tunnel is used 24 hours a day and is a five-mile, single track operation, it is difficult for our crews to get productive work windows. Without this blitz and 17-day closure, we'd have months of nighttime and weekend shutdowns to complete all of the projects."

Other work that will be completed during the trolley closure includes replacing worn track components and cleaning the track drains and stormwater system throughout the tunnel; completing maintenance work on the tunnel's signal system and on key components near 34th and Ludlow, where the Route 10 separates from Routes 11, 13, 34 and 36; testing back-up and emergency lighting cables and making numerous station repairs and improvements such as on stairs, lighting and platforms.


Friday, 18 July 2014 14:56

Agreement means no strike at LIRR

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast and United Transportation Union (UTU) President Anthony Simon, representing a coalition of eight Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) labor unions, have agreed to settle a four-year-old contract dispute between the MTA and the unions.

Friday, 18 July 2014 13:42

AECOM to acquire URS Corporation

AECOM Technology Corporation and URS Corporation have executed a definitive agreement under which AECOM will acquire URS.

More than $25.5 million in state capital investments has been awarded for a major grade separation project in Aurora, Ill. The project will improve traffic flow and safety at the U.S. Route 34 and Canadian National crossing and create 370 jobs.

"Soon motorists on Ogden Avenue won't have to wait for passing trains at this heavily traveled crossing," Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said. "This grade separation project will make it easier and safer to travel in Aurora and create jobs for our hardworking residents to help drive Illinois' economy forward."

A bridge carrying U.S. Route 34 (Ogden Avenue) will be built over the Canadian National tracks. The project will include retaining walls, new pavement, noise abatement and traffic signals. Herlihy Mid-Continent Company of Romeoville was the lowest of seven bidders for the job with a quote of $25,523,407. Construction will begin this summer and will be managed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The average daily traffic volume along U.S. Route 34 at the CN crossing is 31,200 vehicles per day with an average of 42 trains per day. Based on an Environmental Impact Statement, this crossing experiences a total vehicle delay of nearly 73 hours per day. The project will eliminate those delays and reduce the potential for train, vehicle and bicycle accidents by eliminating the at-grade crossing. The work will also enhance emergency vehicle response times in Aurora and the surrounding communities.

The Aurora project is part of Governor Quinn's $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 439,000 jobs over six years.


Wisconsin has moved closer to purchasing a 70-mile segment of rail line between Madison to Reedsburg and Madison to Cottage Grove, says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

On July 12 the Northwest Phoenix community, along with national and local officials, celebrated significant construction progress on the 3.2-mile Northwest Phoenix light-rail extension. The first track celebration, on 19th Avenue, commemorated a milestone as the Phoenix Valley Metro project nears the halfway point.

Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's (SFMTA) Muni transit operators, ratified a new three-year agreement that increases wages, strengthens pension benefits and is in line with the budget needs of the agency.

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