Construction Zone: Kingsbury Creek railroad bridge project under waySite preparation work for a new railroad bridge over Kingsbury Creek, just downstream of Grand Avenue and the Lake Superior Zoo, began around New Year’s Day.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
What: New railroad bridge
Where: Over Kingsbury Creek, just downstream of Grand Avenue and the Lake Superior Zoo
Owner: BNSF Railway
Project cost: Undisclosed
Timeline and status: Site prep work began around New Year’s Day. Last week workers began driving piles.
“Pile driving will probably take about three weeks,” BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth said. Later workers will install a concrete deck and new track in the area.
“It should be done in the beginning of April,” she said.
Construction jobs: Work is being done by a combination of BNSF workers and contractors. “There are probably upwards of 15 people there at various times,” McBeth said.
Purpose: To repair damage from a massive washout in June’s floods. The washout cut off about six miles of track — one mile of BNSF track and five miles of track owned by the city but maintained by the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad. The washout happened near the start of the scenic railroad’s route, forcing the all-volunteer operation to cancel the bulk of its 2012 season.
“That sure didn’t help” the scenic railway, said LS&MRR President Andrew Webb. “I’m pretty happy seeing the bridge go in.”
The scenic railroad plans on resuming its normal schedule of two trips each Saturday and Sunday in early June and running into October, its regular season. Each one-hour, 40-minute trip runs along the St. Louis River from near the zoo to Gary-New Duluth and back. The ride follows the last six miles of the 1870s track of the first train into Duluth.
“We still have work to do out on our line,” Webb said. “We repaired two washouts last summer by hand. The track beyond Riverside is pretty much ready to go.”