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After two years of construction, BNSF Railway Co. marked the completion of the Plattsmouth Bridge on Dec. 4 when a coal train rumbled across the new structure.The bridge crosses the Missouri River between Plattsmouth, Neb., and Pacific Junction, Iowa. The structure is on BNSF's mainline between Lincoln, Neb., and Chicago, which is used daily by about 50 BNSF coal, grain and intermodal trains, as well as Amtrak trains.The $46 million bridge replaces one built in 1879 and later renovated in 1903. The original bridge will remain in place and be used by empty trains."For this project, constructing a new bridge was more cost effective than restoring the existing bridge," said Project Engineer Mike Schaefer in an item posted on the "BNSF News" web page. "Over the past century, we've seen tremendous improvements in construction and materials, such as steel and concrete."Construction work was challenging because it was performed over the Missouri River in all types of weather conditions and under several external constraints, such as a major gas pipeline that needed to be relocated, said Bob Boileau, BNSF's assistant vice president of structures.
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