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Bridges of the Eagle ProjectWe're building bridges on the RTD FasTracks commuter rail project known as Eagle P3.
Of the 37 major bridge structures on the job - 32 rail or roadway bridges, and five pedestrian bridges - 23 have gone under construction. Of those, some are ready for track installation, which will begin in the spring.
These big structures, along with retaining walls and drainage culverts, are the major components of the 36-mile project that must be done first so that once track laying begins, it can continue without interruption.
Here is an overview of this major structural progress, starting from Denver International Airport and working our way west.
1. Triple Stack: Leaving the DIA Jeppesen Terminal on your trip to downtown or elsewhere, the first major structure is a 180-foot commuter rail underpass we call the Triple Stack. The rail alignment bisects the "X" formed by the east and west terminal access roadways. Because of that, some of us on the project have nicknamed it the X Box. The south half has been completed and excavation, grading and walls will shift to the north half. Here is a photo of the Triple Stack:
2. Third Creek Bridge: This is a curved bridge on which outbound trains will climb up from the station level and turn west, next to the DIA solar energy farm. Here is a photo of the Third Creek Bridge:
3. New Castle-Parking Lot Bridge: Trains will use this bridge to cross outbound Peña Boulevard, the DIA employee parking lot and a terminal access roadway called New Castle Street. Here is a photo of the New Castle-Parking Lot bridge construction as seen from across the outbound lanes of Peña Boulevard:
4. Peña Boulevard Bridge: Arguably the most visible of our structures to date, this 1,953-foot curving bridge will carry trains from the north side over Second Creek and the main airport access highway. Here is a recent photo of the Peña Boulevard Bridge:
5. E-470 Bridge: Crossing the tollway south of Peña Boulevard, this bridge will be nearly 600 feet in length. Girders will soon be placed over the highway to connect the two sides. Here is a photo of the E-470 Bridge:
6. Golf Course Bridge: Travelers to DIA might have noticed this small underpass just west of E-470. Plans for the area include a future gold course at this location, and the bridge will allow golfers to pass beneath the rail alignment on their way to par! Here is a photo of the underpass:
7. Tower Road Bridge: The east and west approach walls to this bridge over Tower Road dominate the hilltop view from Peña Boulevard. Girders will soon be placed over the roadway. Here is a photo of the Tower Road Bridge:
8. First Creek Bridge: This is a five-span bridge due to the skewed angle at which First Creek flows through the area. It takes a greater distance to get from bank to bank. This structure is nearly ready for track installation. Here is a photo of the First Creek Bridge:
9. 56th Avenue Bridge: A two-span structure of nearly 200 feet in length, this bridge is ready for track installation. Here is a photo of the 56th Avenue Bridge:
10. Green Valley Ranch Boulevard/48th Avenue Bridge: Early work on this structure includes approach walls and alignment grading. Here is a photo of the Green Valley Ranch Boulevard Bridge:
11. 40th Avenue Bridge: Slightly different from other structures, this separation of track and roadway involves lowering the street and raising the track as the alignment reaches the Airport and 40th Avenue Station. Work is well underway with vehicles detoured around the excavation.
12. I-70 Flyover: Just short of 5,000 feet in length, this is the longest bridge on the entire 36 miles of the Eagle Project. Starting south of the Airport and 40th Avenue Station, the bridge will carry trains over Interstate 70, its south frontage Road, Pagosa Street, 32nd Avenue, Airport Boulevard and the Union Pacific freight track along Smith Road before curving west and back down to ground on the south side between the freight track and Smith Road. Here is a photo of the I-70 Flyover:
13. Sand Creek Freight: The project built a steel plate freight bridge for the Union Pacific Railroad over Sand Creek as part of the shifting and realignment of tracks needed to build the commuter rail tracks. Here is a photo of the Sand Creek Union Pacific Freight Bridge:
14. Sand Creek Commuter Rail Bridge: This 308-foot bridge will carry the commuter trains over Sand Creek just east of the recently opened Central Park Boulevard roadway bridge into the Stapleton neighborhood. Here is a photo of the Sand Creek Commuter Rail Bridge:
15. Quebec Bridge: At 155 feet long, this structure over the Quebec Street expressway segment is ready for track installation. It is the fourth bridge over Quebec at this location. The others are the Union Pacific bridge, Sandown Road and Smith Road. Here is a photo of the Quebec Bridge, with Union Pacific's heritage steam locomotive #844 in the background:
16. Market Lead: Initially planned as a full bridge, this structure has been changed to a large concrete box culvert. It takes the commuter trains over the former track alignment of the BNSF Railway's Market Lead spur track. That closed spur had served the industries along the south side of 40th Avenue between Steele and Race streets. Here is a photo of the Market Lead overpass:
17. 38th Street: This short structure spans over the 38th Street underpass that takes traffic between the Five Points area and North Washington Street, passing below the Union Pacific yard tracks and Blake Street. It leads right into the 38th and Blake Station, the East Rail Line's last station before reaching Denver Union Station. Here is a photo of the 38th Street Bridge:
18. Broadway: The first bridge to go under construction almost a year ago, it already has been partially fitted with track. It will carry East Rail Line trains over the Broadway underpass between downtown and Brighton Boulevard, within the Coors Field parking lot. Here is a photo of the Broadway Bridge:
19. South Platte River: The first structure to be crossed on the shared Gold Line/Northwest Rail alignment, this bridge will rise up as high as the Park Avenue Viaduct next to it, as it also needs to cross over top of the Consolidated Main Line of the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads along the river. Here is a photo of the South Platte River Bridge:
20. 38th Avenue: Girders were placed early this year on this short, 83-foot bridge that crosses over the 38th Avenue "subway" connecting Globeville and Sunnyside neighborhoods under the adjacent freight tracks. Here is a photo of the 38th Avenue Bridge:
21. Jersey Cutoff: This is the Eagle Project's only bridge to be cast from concrete on-site with forms and scaffolding. Other bridges are built with girders that are pre-cast by local concrete companies and trucked to the sites. This 506-foot bridge allows the BNSF's Jersey Cutoff freight spur track to pass underneath and head east into Globeville and connect with the railroad's mainline behind the National Western Complex. Here is a photo of the Jersey Cutoff Bridge:
22. Utah Junction Flyover: The longest bridge on the Gold Line/Northwest Rail at 2,500 feet, this flyover will carry commuter trains headed to Arvada, Wheat Ridge and Westminster over the BNSF Railway Intermodal Freight Yard and the Utah Junction railroad switching area. Here is a photo of the Utah Junction Flyover:
23. Clear Creek: This is the first Gold Line-only bridge to go under construction beyond the junction where Northwest Rail Westminster Segment splits off at Pecos Station. It is located just west of Federal Boulevard south of 60th Avenue. Here is a photo of the Clear Creek Bridge: