Janesville52.8°

Union Pacific Railroad to fix bridge over Rock River

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
July 1, 2009
— Now that the Rock River's level has dropped, the Union Pacific Railroad is preparing to repair a bridge that's been closed since March.

A railroad inspector noticed a problem with the bridge this spring as the river swelled. Suspicions were that the river had undermined the stone base of one of the bridge piers, causing the rails to move out of alignment.


Suspicions were correct, said Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis.


High, rushing water had prevented a crew with sonar gear from inspecting the area around the pier until recently.


A June 12 inspection found that water had scoured out a hole about 5 feet deep and undermining about half the pier, Davis said.


The bridge supports a rail line that ends about 10 miles north of Janesville. Union Pacific has found ways to serve its customers using other rail links, Davis said.


The repairs will involve inserting a pad, possibly made of steel, into the hole and then filling the gap with concrete, Davis said.


The steel-span bridge is 711 feet long and 48 feet high. It was built in 1907.



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