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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

CPR to complete new La Crosse bridge by month's end

During the last week of April, Canadian Pacific Railway plans to finish replacing a century-old bridge's 307-foot truss swing span with a more modern 147-foot rolling bascule span, transforming the La Crosse, Wis., structure into a lift bridge. Construction began in November 2002.

The new $16 million bridge — which crosses the Black River — will handle more train traffic between Wisconsin and Minnesota.

"The new structure will substantially reduce maintenance costs in our current high-axle loading environment and provide more reliability in operations, benefiting both the railroad and users of the river," said Ray Strelesky, CPR manager of project services, in a prepared statement.

Designed by HNTB Corp., the bridge's 987,000-pound bascule span will lift to create a 60-degree angle open to the west, allowing boats to pass through the river channel. A bridge tender, who used to operate the swing span from a control house in the middle of the bridge, will operate the new span from a control house on the bridge's east end.

On April 26, crews will begin removing the swing span. The river under the bridge will be closed to recreational and commercial traffic up to five days. CPR will resume train traffic on April 28 and open the new span April 29.

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More News from 4/1/2004