Sunday, March 8, 2009

Flood repairs begin

Damage surveys are complete, reports have been written, and funding applications have been filed. Resources to fully fund the repairs will take months to secure – or at least attempt to secure – but now it’s time to begin the repairs so they will be completed in time for April trains. RailWorks of Chehalis-Centralia was the low and successful bidder, and they began work this week. There were three bids with base prices that ranged between $59,000 and $140,000. Bids were based on unit costs and the actual cost will reflect the final quantity of materials and footage of track.

A large contractor such as RailWorks has a lot of resources to draw on in undertaking the flood repairs. Arriving on site this week was a veritable parade of specialized equipment, most of it new and all of it fully operational. And with it came a well-qualified and dedicated crew including the foreman Jim W., a Mt Si High graduate and former resident of Fall City. Some of the equipment is specialized for railroad work but other pieces are more common machines with hyrails, special railroad wheels that can been lowered or raised to operate on or off the track. Examples of the latter include a small excavator and a dump truck.

Repair work included in the scope of this project includes replacing about 700 tons of washed out ballast, surfacing over 2,000 feet of track, and adding rip rap to the inlet and outlet of a large culvert. Also as part of the project, nearly 100 cross ties are being replaced. Work is expected to take about 2 weeks. This contract will not address damage to electric gates, journal boxes, the Rainier gang car, or general debris clearance.

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