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Brightline Trains announced this week it will use a box-jacking construction method when it builds a rail underpass under Florida State Road 528 in Brevard County.
The railroad will become the first in North America to use the innovative method under a highway system and the first to do so under live traffic, Brightline officials said in a press release.
To be located west of U.S. Highway 1, the tunnel will be built over a two-week period from March 14-30 using hydraulic jacks to move precast concrete boxes into place to create a tunnel under the roadway. An anti-drag system will be used when installing the boxes to allow for traffic to continue to move above the work.
Once constructed, the underpass will accommodate two side-by-side trains, enabling Brightline to travel between south and central Florida and pass under SR 528, and eliminating the need for a grade crossing.
"Box-jacking will enable us to accomplish in 15 days what would otherwise take up to a year using traditional construction methods," said Michael Cegelis, Brightline's executive vice president of development and construction.
General contractor Granite, which built the concrete box segments, will jack them into place with support from specialty subcontractor Petrucco. Based in Italy, Petrucco has successfully completed thousands of box-jacking operations worldwide, Brightline officials said.
The box-jacking work is part of Brightline's Orlando extension project, which covers 170 miles from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport and will connect Miami to Orlando via high-speed rail. Construction of the $2.7 billion project is expected to be completed in late 2022.