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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Amtrak swing bridge gets needed repair following barge hit

Amtrak’s Spuyten Duyvil Bridge over New York City’s Harlem River recently was repaired after a barge knocked the swing bridge two inches out of alignment March 2. Amtrak was able to close the bridge and restore service March 3, but the river remained closed to navigation that would require bridge operations.

Because the bridge’s design relies on bevels in the rim plate to maintain alignment (instead of a more-typical center pin), American Bridge Co. jacked the bridge vertically from eight points using hydraulic jacks, and used bonded Teflon as a bearing for each jack, with a greased surface. A one-eighth-inch stainless steel plate was clamped under the rim girder. While the span was vertically jacked, another set of two jacks pushed the bridge longitudinally against the flanking truss span and along the bonded Teflon pads.

Testing following the procedure revealed that the bridge partially recoiled, so Amtrak officials requested it be repeated. The second operation took place March 11, and there was no further recoil.

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More News from 4/29/2002