Strauss Rail Yard Built To Last, Grow In N.M. Desert
Richmond, putting the excavation into perspective, says if that dirt was stacked on trains, "that train would go from Santa Teresa to Albuquerque."
While the excavation proceeded, work to extend and relocate the power line that feeds the city of El Paso was being completed in coordination with El Paso Electric. The line originally traversed the site.
"We had to put a 90° turn [in the line] to get it clear of the site, and now it goes around the far southwest [corner] of our site," Zucker said.
The line was moved more than 1.5 miles and took more than six months to complete.
County roads were also relocated as part of the project, with 16 miles of roadway constructed outside the facility.
Finishing What Was Started
Phase 2 of construction was launched in July 2012 with Sundt New Mexico LLC, a division of Tucson-based Sundt Construction, as the general contractor.
As part of this phase, crews built-out the crew change point, fueling station, yard office, the intermodal facilities and all the other buildings on the site as well as the tracks and utilities.
Part of the impetus for the development of the yard was to have space that could grow along with rail demand over the next century. As a result, many more facilities and miles of track are anticipated to be laid and erected at undetermined points in the future.
Elements such as drainage and retention were considered to maximize the eventual built-out infrastructure. Triangular retention basins flank the track on the north and south.
"To maximize our capability to grow over the long term, we wanted to move all of our stormwater retention ponds out into those [areas]," Zucker says of the stormwater culverts and utility encasements that were installed under main tracks. "That caused us to put some large culverts in to drain our fueling facility, intermodal facility and for future growth. We put in three large boxed culverts."
The three culverts—two are nearly identical at 6 ft high by 6 ft wide and about 1,500 ft long and one at 5 ft by 5 ft and about 6,000 ft long—will move all of the stormwater from the site.
More than 40,000 cu yd of concrete have been placed on site—equivalent to about 12,270 Olympic-size swimming pools. In total, more than 212,000 tons of concrete and 115,144 tons of asphalt have been placed.