Pulling up ties | SierraSun.com

Pulling up ties

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunRail workers from Union Pacific begin repairs on the tracks heading through downtown Truckee Tuesday.
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Truckee will feel the effects of $3 billion in nationwide railroad work as Union Pacific replaces ties along the downtown tracks.

Union Pacific Railroad is replacing railroad ties throughout the region at $130 a pop, including where the tracks cross Bridge Street downtown.

Depending on what materials the railroad gets, the project could close Bridge Street for a week starting either on Sept. 29 or Oct. 6.

Coupled with sidewalk work in Brickelltown on the western end of downtown, and resurfacing on West River Street, town officials will have to juggle when each project moves forward so traffic can flow smoothly through.

“We’ve got these three projects on top of each other,” said Dan Wilkins, director of public works for the town.

Once the Town of Truckee heard from Union Pacific their plans to work at the railroad crossing, staff jumped on the week-long closure to take care of other roadwork on Bridge Street, Wilkins said.

The goal, Wilkins said, would be to improve drainage to prevent ice in the winter, and to smooth out the bump over the tracks.

The redevelopment agency approved a $75,000 contract on Sept. 4 for the work for Advanced Asphalt, already contracted to put in temporary sidewalks between the roundabout at the western end of downtown and Spring Street.

“This is the perfect time of year to do it,” said Stefanie Olivieri of the Downtown Merchants Association, referring to the quiet shoulder season. “And the end result will be a tremendous asset to the community.”

Traffic will be routed by detour signs through downtown, down McIver Crossing under the railroad, and back towards Brockway Road on West River Street while Bridge Street is closed, said Senior Engineer Michael Vaughan.

But with some single lane closures required with the sidewalk work in Brickelltown, and another contract to resurface part of West River Street, Vaughan said the town will have to time everything so traffic doesn’t get hit by multiple closures.

“If the railroad doesn’t start on the 29th we will start with one-lane closures for a week in Brickelltown,” Wilkins said.

The resurfacing on West River Street is the lowest priority, but should only take three days, Wilkins said.

Union Pacific Railroad has already completed their work at the Soda Springs Road/ railroad crossing, and will be working on the Boca crossing on Monday, Sept. 22, Wilkins said.

Zoe Richmond, spokeswoman for Union Pacific, said slow orders around construction zones may mean slight delays for freight and passenger trains.

The California Transportation Commission is also working with Union Pacific to construct a 9.3-mile second track and increased tunnel clearances for double-stacked freight trains.

Raising the height of the tunnels would allow the double-stacked cargo containers to travel over Donner Pass rather than the current route through the Feather River Canyon ” a shift that would reduce travel time by 75 miles.

The Donner Summit track improvements and clearance project could be completed by early 2009, with construction starting in the spring.

The project would cost an estimated $86.8 million, and would be split between Union Pacific and the California Transportation Commission.