Coos Bay Rail Line Bridge Rehabilitation
The Coos Bay Rail Line is a shortline class III railroad owned by the Port of Coos Bay and operated through a management agreement with Coos Bay Rail Link, a division of ARG Trans, Inc. The 135-mile-long line provides connections to the North American rail network for manufacturing operations in Coos, Douglas, and Lane Counties, and for marine terminals in the Coos Bay harbor. The line began operations in 1916, passing through several owners until it was shut down in 2007 due to safety issues related to deferred maintenance. The line was acquired in a feeder line proceeding before Surface Transportation board in 2009, and was returned to service in October of 2011. The traffic line is expected to maintain at around 7,500 cars annually until additional industries are brought into service along the rail corridor.
The Coos Bay Rail Line traverses 121 bridges between the interchange in Eugene and end of line in Coquille. The bridge structures vary in type and configuration, but include (3) steel swing span bridges, a variety of steel truss, through plate girder, and deck plate girders spans, concrete box spans, and a multitude of timber trestles. Many of the structures were first built when the line was constructed in 1914 through 1916, and many of the steel structures are now 100 years old.
The proposed project is the construction of improvements or replacements for selected key bridge structures to upgrade capacity, to increase overall safety and reliability on the line; and to extend the useful life of the selected structures for 20 years or more of continuous operations. The project builds on repairs made in 2010 to return the line to service. The planned work includes improvements on all three of the Swing Span bridges, replacement of the Vaughn Viaduct Bridge near Noti, Oregon, replacement of the Coal Bank Slough bridge in Coos Bay, Oregon, and upgrades to timber, concrete and steel structures between Coos Bay and Eugene to meet planned train load capacities and speed targets necessary to maintain continued traffic growth on the line.
The overall project is currently estimated to cost $25 million. The Port intends to seek a Federally funded grants for the $20 million necessary to complete the project with a pledge of a $5 million match. The Port submitted a BUILD grant application for rehabilitation of the bridges on July 18th.