It’s no simple matter: here’s what it takes to keep rail and pedestrian traffic safely moving across a historic bridge
Built in 1930, the Vicksburg Old Highway 80 Bridge is a one-of-a-kind structure listed in the National Register of Historic Places. For many years, it was the only bridge over the Mississippi River where highway and railroad tracks ran side by side through the truss structure. However, with only nine-foot wide highway lanes, safety became an issue, and the bridge ended vehicular access in 1988.
Today, the Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS) and Norfolk Southern (NS) continue to operate freight rail service on the train track side of the bridge, while pedestrians and event booths primarily use the opposite side. With its importance to ongoing rail operations, the bridge needed a safety inspection, and our bridge inspection team was brought in to provide capacity load rating, underwater investigation, and other inspection services.
The job included an arm’s length inspection of the entire bridge and underwater SONAR investigation. We provided the complete bridge inspection report to the Vicksburg Bridge Commission of Warren County in compliance with Federal Railroad Administration, which included recommendations for additional follow-up inspections, necessary repairs, and a capacity load rating based on the in-depth inspection. The load rating modeling was performed for normal and maximum operating conditions to ensure continued safe usage of the bridge.
The good news? Our inspection and analysis indicated that the bridge will likely remain safe for long-term use.
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