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Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad

UP cuts ribbon on new Kate Shelley Bridge in Iowa


Yesterday, Union Pacific Railroad held a ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new Kate Shelley Bridge, one of North America’s tallest double-track rail bridges.

Spanning the Des Moines River near Boone, Iowa, the bridge is more than 2,800 feet long and 190 feet high. UP spent more than $50 million to reconstruct the bridge between 2006 and 2009. HDR Engineering Inc. provided engineering services and OCCI Inc. served as the prime contractor.

The new structure can accommodate heavy trains, such as those moving coal and grain, and features two tracks set 20 feet apart. Two trains can cross the bridge simultaneously at a maximum speed of 70 mph. The first train operated over the reconstructed bridge on Aug. 20.

The structure is named after Kate Shelley, who as a 15-year-old in 1881 alerted Chicago & Northwestern Railroad officials about a bridge collapse in the Boone area.

Since 1997, UP has spent more than $1 billion in Iowa to upgrade branch lines, boost east-west corridor capacity, improve communications and signals, and complete other infrastructure upgrades.