The Norfolk Southern bridge project involved the replacement of a 120-year-old pin-connected through a truss bridge over the Leaf River between Petal and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The existing bridge was nearing the end of its usable life and required extensive maintenance and inspections, impacting rail operations. To address these challenges the old bridge was replaced with a modern ballasted through plate girder bridge.

The replacement process involved the installation of new driven pile foundations, cast-in-place concrete footings, columns, and caps. To minimize disruptions to rail operations, the replacement bridge was assembled alongside the existing bridge. The team then utilized a lateral slide technique carried out during an 18-hour rail closure to replace the existing span with the new structure in the same alignment. This approach allowed for the seamless installation of the new bridge while ensuring the safety and efficiency of transportation operations.

One of the key challenges faced during the project was the management of differing site conditions. The accurate location for excavating the foundations was affected by the fluctuating water levels of the Leaf River. The project team promptly communicated the discrepancies to the client and presented a new plan to move forward, effectively managing the situation and minimizing its impact on the project's cost and schedule. Additionally, access to the location was hindered by a washed-out embankment, which had to be repaired for the project to continue.

Throughout the project, the team maintained transparent communication with Norfolk Southern, ensuring that client specifications and requirements were met. The project's success depended on meeting the outage window specified by the client, which necessitated a carefully executed construction schedule.

By prioritizing transparency, clear communication and collaboration with the client, the Norfolk Southern Bridge Replacement project showcases a commitment to delivering exceptional results. Despite the challenges faced, the project team ensured the successful replacement of the aging bridge, enhancing the efficiency and safety of rail transportation in the area. The new bridge’s minimum anticipated life span is 100 years.

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