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Why does 8 miles of new track cost more then a half a billion dollars? South Shore West Lake Branch?

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Why does 8 miles of new track cost more then a half a billion dollars? South Shore West Lake Branch?
Posted by highball6868 on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 12:50 PM

My only guess is that some of the money is really being diverted to the secret CIA projects on Alien Space Craft??AlienAlien In reality for that amount of money NICTD could buy a whole regional railroad like EJ&E or Indiana Harbor Belt.

"The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s board approved a $534.9 million West Lake design-build contract with a consortium of two Chicago companies, F.H. Paschen and Ragnar Benson Construction."

The cost for this is discouraging news for other US Metro regions that want to build or expand rail passenger commuter service.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 4:33 PM

highball6868
My only guess is that some of the money is really being diverted to the secret CIA projects on Alien Space Craft??AlienAlien In reality for that amount of money NICTD could buy a whole regional railroad like EJ&E or Indiana Harbor Belt.

"The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s board approved a $534.9 million West Lake design-build contract with a consortium of two Chicago companies, F.H. Paschen and Ragnar Benson Construction."

The cost for this is discouraging news for other US Metro regions that want to build or expand rail passenger commuter service.

Does NICTD own the property where the new track is to be constructed?  Have the Enviornmental surveys been completed and filed with the proper agencies?  Have the engineering surveys been taken to understand the the soil conditions along the path of the new track alignment?  That just scratches the surface of what is involved in building 'new' track out of face.

Suspect that if it was desired to build a high volume highway over those same 8 miles the price tage would be well North of 2 BILLION.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 9:13 PM

BaltACD
Does NICTD own the property where the new track is to be constructed?  Have the Enviornmental surveys been completed and filed with the proper agencies?  Have the engineering surveys been taken to understand the the soil conditions along the path of the new track alignment?  That just scratches the surface of what is involved in building 'new' track out of face. Suspect that if it was desired to build a high volume highway over those same 8 miles the price tage would be well North of 2 BILLION.

1. All welded rail....believe the speed limit will be 60-70 mph.

2. CTC signalling included (which is not cheap).    Was $5 million for 2.5 mile CTC extension in Milwaukee for WisDOT.

3. Stations and platforms included built to ADA standards .

4. Double tracked.

5. Land acquisition including relocation of a trail in places.

6. New Crossing signals with gates (approx 100k each set probably 250k if quad four implementation).

7.  Relocation of utility easements and any pipelines.

8.  New bridges if needed.

9.  Canetary for the power lines to supply juice to the trains.

10. ROW fencing.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, July 30, 2020 12:09 AM

Undeer ground utilities are a big problem. Find them first. Then move those that do not cross your ROW at close to 90 degree angles.  All utilities will need encasements to protect the product container.  Pay outrageous prices for each utility company to relocate its service. Before utility company can relocate it might need to have another utility relocate off the ROW.  That may cause a utilit company to make multiple runs to relocate the same service.  

Utility relocation might have to be done in a certain order. Such as the deepest one relocated first.  Then what happens when more than one both needs that lowest and cross off ROW ?  What light rail line was it that did not protect utility lines and had to shut down for an extended time to replace a crushed line ?

All that work is finally planned and half way through guess what?  An unknown utility line is encountered.  Map was wrong.   This poster likes the new way of boringutility lines instead of open trench but doubts that at times maps are always accurate. Also they are not encased as far as I know. Right now a 6 inch water line is being bored in our town.

As the utility lines are installed the contractor has to make days or weeks between subgrade passes over each depth covering lines.  Extended equipment rentals cost contractors.

Some one who knows will have to post as to what weight capacity the line will have to be built to.  That is 300k+ weights?

So that is this poster's take on the high costs.  Note as Balt posted highways are now built the same way as far as utilities go.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, July 30, 2020 3:24 AM

blue streak 1
Before utility company can relocate it might need to have another utility relocate off the ROW.  That may cause a utility company to make multiple runs to relocate the same service.

Can you be more specific about what this means? Does it refer to other utilities having to conduct or complete their relocation first, or to a utility having to install the equivalent of shoofly arrangements before performing the actual relocation?

Utility relocation might have to be done in a certain order. Such as the deepest one relocated first.  Then what happens when more than one both needs that lowest and cross off ROW?

This specific issue was repeatedly discussed in presentations to the Engineer's Club of Memphis. My takeaway is that this is a 'known' thing and is regularly and carefully addressed in project planning -- including the procedures followed when "anomalous things happen" during construction...

Now, of course... Whistling

What light rail line was it that did not protect utility lines and had to shut down for an extended time to replace a crushed line?
This certainly occurred during the Cleveland (medical center) extension in Memphis, if casual memory serves in the area west of the new Jefferson Avenue bridge over Danny Thomas.  As I recall the assumption was that cross feeders were deep enough not to be affected... they turned out not to be.

All that work is finally planned and half way through guess what?  An unknown utility line is encountered.  Map was wrong.

This apparently happens more often than you'd think.  It gets dealt with.  Usually short of actual catastrophe with flood or flame.  I could be cynical and say it's a convenient way to excuse cost overruns sometimes, but there have been a couple of cases that made me wonder...  

This poster likes the new way of boring utility lines instead of open trench but doubts that at times maps are always accurate...

I presume you mean directional drilling.  This has become a fascinating way of finding, and sometimes penetrating, other utilities that aren't quite where they were supposed to be.  There are supposed to be scanning and detection equipment to find what's actually there as you bore (some of the later equipment I worked on in the '90s in connection with geothermal heat pump HVAC relied on several tracking methods together to steer the head) but very often you'll have some guys with a rented rig and not enough forethought.

Also they are not encased as far as I know.

The way we're told this is handled is to use the directional to install a fairly large-diameter conduit, and then pull actual service lines through this.  Naturally there isn't the same protection as installing heavier conduit or pipe in trench, but you don't expose small lines to shifting earth or spot crush or other potential issues, and it facilitated running other utilities later or servicing problems that may develop.
As the utility lines are installed the contractor has to make days or weeks between subgrade passes over each depth covering lines.  Extended equipment rentals cost contractors.
The general approach I see used here and when I notice it, elsewhere is to use substantially greater 'overburden' in backfilling, often resembling the monster height observed in new highway grading before natural settlement.  This nominally reduces the likely number of 'consolidation' visits to eliminate surface subsidence, or to 'stage' equipment rental only for the actual time compacting activity is done.

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Posted by highball6868 on Thursday, July 30, 2020 12:30 PM

 There was this project-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illiana_Expressway which was thankfully cancelled. Now lets see if rail can offer a alternitve...8 miles is not enough..reclaim the Porter Rail Trail from Hammond to Chesterton

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, July 30, 2020 1:25 PM

Overmod
 
blue streak 1
Before utility company can relocate it might need to have another utility relocate off the ROW.  That may cause a utility company to make multiple runs to relocate the same service. 

Can you be more specific about what this means? Does it refer to other utilities having to conduct or complete their relocation first, or to a utility having to install the equivalent of shoofly arrangements before performing the actual relocation?

Once you drop beneath the surface of the land - all bets are off on the 'utilities' that are there - Water, Storm Sewer, Sanitary Sewer, Electric, Telephone, TV Cable, Heating Gas pipelines, Steam Lines, Subway Tunnels - the list goes on and on - depending on the particular location.  

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Posted by Charles H Bogart on Monday, December 21, 2020 3:08 PM

Here in my home town maps were consulted to ensure the water line was not hit during putting in a new sewer line. The water line was 1-foot from the curb. They dug trench 36 inches from the curb and hit the water line. O'h yeah - remember we widen the street ten years ago and moved the curb over 2-feet. This widening did not get put on the utility map. 

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, December 21, 2020 7:26 PM

BaltACD

 

 
Overmod
 
blue streak 1
Before utility company can relocate it might need to have another utility relocate off the ROW.  That may cause a utility company to make multiple runs to relocate the same service. 

Can you be more specific about what this means? Does it refer to other utilities having to conduct or complete their relocation first, or to a utility having to install the equivalent of shoofly arrangements before performing the actual relocation?

 

Once you drop beneath the surface of the land - all bets are off on the 'utilities' that are there - Water, Storm Sewer, Sanitary Sewer, Electric, Telephone, TV Cable, Heating Gas pipelines, Steam Lines, Subway Tunnels - the list goes on and on - depending on the particular location.  

 

Typically the one of the electric companies owns a pole line.  If you are a communications company (legacy bell company, cable or other fiber company) you have to wait till they have gotten their work done first.
 
There are times that it may involve you having to run a temporary bypass to maintain service while the pole is being replaced.
 
This may have to happen multiple times.
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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Monday, December 21, 2020 10:29 PM

Our local Gas Utility has safety notices about gas lines being bored through sewer lines.

"The presence of a gas pipe in a sewer line is known as a “cross bore.” A cross bore can remain undetected for months, even years. The typical way they are discovered is when the sewer line becomes clogged and a blockage needs to be removed. While it is common practice to use a mechanical rotary device to root out the blockage, this process could damage the gas pipe that has been bored through the sewer line, resulting in a loss of service and a potentially hazardous leak condition.

Background

Utilities use a trenchless technology called horizontal directional drilling (boring) to pull cables, conduit and pipe underground. This installation method causes less impact to the surrounding area and minimizes environmental disruption. It also saves time, allowing utility crews to work more efficiently. Before Nicor Gas begins directional drilling, precautionary safety measures are taken to determine the location of all underground facilities, including sewer lines. Unfortunately, there are instances when sewer lines cannot be properly identified and our gas pipe is inadvertently pulled through existing infrastructure, leaving the opportunity for accidental damage to the gas pipe in the future."

And as some remember the old slogan "Gas does the big jobs better" when seeing a house blown apart by a gas leak explosion!

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, December 24, 2020 10:21 PM

Our local water and sewer department is using horizontal boring to install a new 6 inch water line.  So far the contractor has had to make 4 unscheduled digs due to encountering unknown old utilities.  Fortunately the contractor did not hit the city gas line as well although when digging found  the new water line just an inch from the gas line.

As far as utility locations on poles it gets coplicated. The pole owner is responsible for standard replacements.  Every other utility on the pole pays a fee. The last I heard was $25.00 per year. However around here if an emergency pole replacement is required the Electric utility replaces the pole and charges whom ever the pole belongs.  As always who ever places another pole hopes the pot holer does not hit some unknown something underground.

When a  pole is replaced the electric utility has to be there anyway to protect the high voltage lines.  Almost always around here the highest voltage is highest on the pole with descending voltages down.  An extreme exaple here is Ga Power is on top with their ground wire, then  our local electric utility with their ground wire next. BTW both gound wires are connected.   Then the residential 3  -110 / 220 volt lines next, then cable lines, and then   ATT  POT  wire cables and then ATT fiber optic on the bottom.   

When a pole is replaced the Electric utility(S) place their 3 phase and ground wires on the new pole and takes a chain saw and cuts the old pole down to just above the cable tv lines.  That is unless the street lights are owned by city then city may move street lights.  Example LaGrange ga.  Or city gets electric company to move street light.   Then the cable company comes along and and moves their cable(s) from the old  pole to the new one and cut the pole to just above the telephone lines.  Telephone company comes along moves their wires to new pole and removes the pole charging who ever owns the pole.  

The cable company is usually the hold up and I have seen old poles still around over 6 months later after a replacement starts.   Phone company often cannot waiit and has to move tv cable due to several diffferent reasons.

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Posted by rdamon on Saturday, December 26, 2020 11:50 AM
If you look at a pole the attachments are made in order of their voltages.
 
Transmission typically 49kV to 220kV
 
Distribution typically 3kV to 30kV
 
36 inches Below the lowest neutral line (Including street lighting) in the distribution you get into the communication zone. Attachments are still made based on legacy voltage levels with Cable TV (60V-89V AC) being above Telephone (-48V DC).  There are some legacy Cable systems that use 30VAC that are installed under the telephone lines.
 
This does not include all the other communications companies and DOT fiber that gets installed in the communications zone.
 
Usually the owner is whoever owns the highest attachment.
 
In Georgia there may three different companies attached at the distribution level. (GA Power, Municipal and Electric COOP)
 
So, a single pole move could involve as few as one or as many as 10 or more companies.
 
As said above the Cable company usually is the last one to do their transfers. If you see a line that has about a 1 foot piece of a pole attached to it, that is where they gave up waiting and had to pull the pole.
 
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Posted by Erik_Mag on Saturday, December 26, 2020 11:06 PM

IIRC, it would be pretty rare to have transmission lines above 69kV on a shared pole for a variety of reasons.

Reasons include:
Induction from transmission line currents into lower voltage conductors
Safety
Transmission lines tend to have longer spans than distribution lines

Other than that, drawing agrees with shared pole design rules dating back at least a century.

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Posted by rdamon on Sunday, December 27, 2020 1:53 PM

We have shared poles with 115kV and 230kV transmission lines all over Atlanta.

Here is one with 115kV, 2 different GA Power Distribution Voltages and Cobb EMC and a wealth of fiber.

 

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Posted by mudchicken on Sunday, December 27, 2020 9:44 PM

At some point, the utility problem needs to be separated from the greenfield corridor construction issues.

Don't try to call all underground utility installation horizontal drilling, call it "trenchless" and note the dozens of different ways of doing trenchless (some of which ought to be banned for their level of risk)

(1) Building a new line in a relatively urban area is a nightmare. The environmental impact statements (EIS) alone will be a nightmare in terms of cost and real world.

(2) If there is federal $$$ involved, there will come a demand to design and build to ASCE Subsurface Utility Engineering (S-U-E) standard level C (or better)... Already state law in Colorado and five other states if ANY public monies are involved (the world is finally waking-up to how reckless/cheap/careless the utility and pipeline world really is - railroads have been wise to some of the crap pulled by underground utilities and contractors since 1958-60)... I don't know if Indiana HB 1218 passed this year or not, following Colorado's lead, last reported as being watered-down and not following ASCE 38-02.

(3) If there is new construction, any utility (with the exception of some heavy wall steel gas lines 12'-6" or deeper and other utilities over 30' deep will have to be replaced by cased lines (Pipe inside a larger diameter sacrificial pipe) either crossing or within 25 feet of the track)

Indiana and the railroads already have had fights over what rights railroads have in allowing utilities to cross or encroach on railroad property.

Fiber and cable utilities (generally the most reckless) are in a federal fight at the congressional FCC level. The "build it first and ask for forgiveness later" game is over, the railroads have dug-in. (and the Eagle1 Resources scam isn't helping the issue)... Utilities have a really bad habit of not building line where they claimed they did - many times with contractors taking unauthorized shortcuts or making huge blunders with seat-of-the-pants construction methods (and no engineering). 

(petroleum pipeline people and the railroads have clashed for decades over casing and the cathodic protection issue....lawsuits out the gazoo...and then there is the last second permitting issuesSuper Angry)

(4) Not mentioned yet is the condemnation issue and that slippery slope.

I can see the costs piling up rapidly. Add-in the the differences between light rail (FTA and bus people) vs. commuter rail (FRA/ real railroaders) and things could go south quickly. 

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by mudchicken on Sunday, December 27, 2020 9:55 PM

rdamon

We have shared poles with 115kV and 230kV transmission lines all over Atlanta.

Here is one with 115kV, 2 different GA Power Distribution Voltages and Cobb EMC and a wealth of fiber.

 

 

Running a railroad with catenary under that? Better find a pole with an additional 20 feet of clearance! (NESC)....and forget about running parallel within 50+ feet of the track with CTC or ABS. (and then there are the PTC issuesConfused)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by rdamon on Monday, December 28, 2020 6:38 AM

mudchicken
NESC)....and forget about running parallel within 50+ feet of the track with CTC or ABS. (and then there are the PTC issues)

And if you look down you can see where A Colonial Pipeline crosses under the road.

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Posted by mudchicken on Monday, December 28, 2020 12:19 PM

Realistically, anything underground within 30 feet of the track ought to be cased with the exception of some sewers under ambient pressure (non-aspirated) and those ought to be steel. The toy-train (light rail) people here in Denver have seen a few fails because of no-casing. There also has been several HDD trenchless installation fails where too much pressure has caused humped track or drilling fluid frac-outs. One HDD failure took BNSF, UP and RTD all out of service at the same time (6" hump), that utility and contractor hadn't managed to complete the permit process of any of the three railroads.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by samfp1943 on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 7:52 PM

Overmod: stated in part:"...This specific issue was repeatedly discussed in presentations to the Engineer's Club of Memphis. My takeaway is that this is a 'known' thing and is regularly and carefully addressed in project planning -- including the procedures followed when "anomalous things happen" during construction..."

        As a former resident of the City built on a Bluff, and sometimes; run on that same principle... And a participant in what was the 1960's edition of the MUATS Traffic and Transportation Engineering study...Politics was always a consideration, Engineering, sometimes, not so much...

Memphis Light, Gas,& Water was a powerful force in the local potitical scene...At one time, annexation was a 'driver', and it was noted then; Memphis was a place where acerage, ie: annexed land, sometimes had more cattle than people.That was a basis for a community's 'size'

[ ie: Recall the time when Delta Air. Lines became Delta C&S, and was not invited  to move into the City, because the Local Boss Hog was not a fan of flying(?)-a win for ATL] Whistling 

 

 

 


 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 10:42 PM

Miss Delta and get FedEx.

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Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, December 30, 2020 9:45 AM

And NorthWest, but FedEx was the jackpot.  Probably OK because it was just boxes and not people. :)

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, December 30, 2020 9:33 PM

rdamon

And NorthWest, but FedEx was the jackpot.  Probably OK because it was just boxes and not people. :)

 

And then Delta ate Northwest, so Delta got into Memphis anyway.

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Posted by rdamon on Thursday, December 31, 2020 8:18 AM

Not for long, their status as a hub went away quickly.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, December 31, 2020 12:09 PM

The problem with Memphis as a 'hub' was not primarily with capacity (even with FedEx and the military presence) -- it was with the airport authority and the carriers colluding to keep prices originating in Memphis artificially high even when on a segment of a longer trip billed at a lower price.  It was amusing, but not funny, to listen to or read one of the Authority's flacks trying to justify this practice "because there were more available flights out of Memphis per day with all the connections through there."  What was amusing was that if you bought a 'through' ticket, and thought you could board 'midflight' with the coupon -- surprise! if you didn't physically fly the first segment, the whole shebang got cancelled.  I wonder why that became the procedure... well, no I don't, actually. Mischief

To paraphrase Gertrude Stein,  "scam is a scam is a scam".   I suspect the threat of long runways and Southwest in Tunica had its effect; I certainly worked out several ways of assuring rail connections between Memphis and the Tunica area in the years the situation was at its 'most extreme', and the prospective numbers were promising.

It certainly made me much more understanding of ICC practice 'all those years' in assuring regulated rates between different points were proportional...

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Posted by rdamon on Thursday, December 31, 2020 7:31 PM

That is the same for most hub cities.  Before the computers caught on I had a travel agent that would try book me on a connector out of Atlanta that I never got on.  Saving $300-$500 from the non-stop fare.  I always refused as I risked loosing all my FF miles if I got caught.

 

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Posted by GERALD L MCFARLANE JR on Friday, January 1, 2021 2:56 PM

rdamon
That is the same for most hub cities.  Before the computers caught on I had a travel agent that would try book me on a connector out of Atlanta that I never got on.  Saving $300-$500 from the non-stop fare.  I always refused as I risked loosing all my FF miles if I got caught.

Which is one reason people love flying Southwest, because they don't operate on the Hub system you can literally save hundreds and hundreds of dollars lying cross country...if you don't mind stopping 6 times and flying for 24 hours(I kid you not, when I worked processing baggage there was a person flying from San Jose to Atlanta on Southwest with 6 stops along the way, it was over 24 hours of flying, but the rampers said the person got a cheap flight that way).

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Posted by petitnj on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 10:08 AM

Everyone has realized that the government is the only source of money. Any project government money supports is inflated by every bell and whistle that they can find because no one is watching the pot. Projects are extended and inflated (see California High Speed, La Plata platform, etc) and lots of people make lots of money. Sorry to be so negative. 

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