In the Spring of 2013, the Program team conducted an evaluation of at-grade rail crossings along the Iowa Interstate (IAIS) portions of the corridor. Local public officials and residents assisted the team with these evaluations, providing for a full picture of current conditions at crossings along the railway.
The team also studied the existing conditions of the corridor utilizing ground penetrating radar (GPR). The use of the GPR allowed the team to evaluate the existing track surface and ballast (i.e., the material beneath the tracks to support the cross-ties and rails) conditions. The GPR used high-frequency radio waves that were transmitted into the ground. The receiving antenna of the GPR then recorded variations in the reflected return signal. The presence of a variation indicated to the team that a subsurface irregularity may have been present. These analyses were necessary, as the condition of the railroad track substructure has a significant influence on track performance. The team will use this information to assist in the planning for improvements and prioritization of future track maintenance programs for the Chicago to Quad Cities Service Development Program.
Additional studies conducted in 2013 included diagnostic field reviews of roadway bridges and further sub-surface evaluations.
In the coming months, the project team will:
- Identify needed improvements to the individual crossings to allow for 79 mph passenger rail service.
- Finalize preliminary engineering plans and cost estimates.
- Present roadway crossing preliminary engineering plans to the jurisdictional agencies for review.
- Hold additional public meetings.