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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Iowa Interstate Railroad opens Duggan Bridge

The new structure, which crosses the Raccoon River west of Des Moines, replaces a 119-year-old bridge.
Photo – Iowa Interstate Railroad Instagram


The Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. (IAIS) earlier this week opened the new William J. Duggan Bridge in Booneville, Iowa, to freight-rail traffic. 

The structure, which crosses the Raccoon River west of Des Moines, replaces a 119-year-old through truss bridge. The bridge now consists of eight steel beam spans set in concrete piers, with two concrete bents supporting a concrete box beam.

The bridge will support sustained 40 mph train speeds with 286,000-pound freight-rail cars and no dimensional load limitations, IAIS officials said in a press release.

The Federal Railroad Administration funded half of the project costs through a $3.5 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant. IAIS funded the remaining costs. 

Project engineering was led by HDR Inc. and the bridge general contractor was A.M. Cohron & Son Inc.

The bridge is dedicated to Bill Duggan, who served as IAIS’ vice president of engineering and VP of operations, and then later VP of operations of IAIS’ parent company Railroad Development Corp. 

“After the bankruptcy of our predecessor the Rock Island in 1980, the IAIS route was deemed unnecessary and nearly liquidated, In fact, parts of the railroad stood idle until 1984,” said IAIS Chairman Henry Posner III.

Duggan came to IAIS from the Illinois Central Railroad in 1989, and was tasked with keeping the railroad running with very limited traffic and funding.

“We have evolved into today’s strong, stable, resilient route connecting Iowa and Illinois to the world because of the foundation — both physical and cultural — laid by Bill,” Posner said. 

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/2/2020