Photo by Mascaro Construction Co.
J&L Tunnel Design-Build Roof Reconstruction, Pittsburgh

Part of the CSX National Gateway Clearance Improvement Program, the Jones and Laughlin Tunnel at the South Side Works increases rail clearances and enables trains to carry double-stack inter-modal container cars.

The tunnel is 1,626 ft long and 24 ft wide, including an 818-ft-long tangent section and an 808-ft-long curved section.

Replacement of the tunnel roof involved excavating and removing a green space park located above the tunnel; removing the old roof; building up the tunnel walls with an approximately 25-in. cap to increase the vertical clearance; and replacing the roof with adjacent precast, reinforced concrete beams.

The team positioned a crawler crane on the existing roof to control forces there and minimize lateral construction loads on the walls. This prevented wall instability during removal of the existing roof as well as while tunnel walls were raised and the new roof placed. All of this work was accomplished under live rail traffic conditions and during a tight construction window—without impacts to surrounding businesses, restaurants and other establishments.

Under its project-specific safety plan, the construction team reviewed CSX Transportation, OSHA and Federal Railroad Administration requirements to ensure that all work complied with regulations.

One project requirement was that anyone working within 25 ft of the tracks have Roadway Worker Training. According to the submission, Mascaro director of safety Rick Bowers became a certified facilitator for the training program, which helped with manpower and maintaining safety at the jobsite. The team also completed eRailSafe background checks on all employees and held daily job briefings with CSX Transportation representatives prior to each shift.

Safety and Small Project (under $10 million): Award of Merit - J&L Tunnel Design-Build Roof Reconstruction, Pittsburgh

Key Players

Owner CSX Transportation

General Contractor Mascaro Construction Co.

Lead Design Firm Michael Baker Jr.

Structural/Civil Engineer Michael Baker