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BNSF Track Raise and Embankment Widening

Houston Engineering Project
BNSF Track Raise and Embankment Widening

Location:  Devils Lake, ND
Client:  BNSF Railway


As a result of Devils Lake’s rising waters and an endangered embankment, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway needed an engineering consultant to perform construction management and survey, track raise, and embankment widening at the Devils Lake Subdivision.

The Project

BNSF enlisted Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) to perform construction management services and surveying for 12 miles of grade raises for existing railroad track. The project utilized multiple disciplines of engineering and science and was completed without interrupting commercial and passenger rail traffic. The massive effort raised several sections of the track nearly 10 feet higher than their original positions, preserving future integrity of the track. 

In addition to working closely with BNSF, HEI teamed with longtime partners Braun Intertec and TKDA to ensure all aspects of project production were a success. HEI’s responsibilities included:
  • Construction staking and surveying.
  • Reviewing construction documents including permits, traffic control requirements, erosion control procedures, and the general proceeding of construction through completion of the project.
  • Ensuring the safety of contracted workforce and the integrity of BNSF track at all times.
  • Coordinating and communicating between contractor; BNSF Engineering Services; and BNSF track, signal, and structure departments.
  • Monitoring contractor for compliance with plans, specifications, safety, and permitting. 
  • Providing survey, survey control, and resolution of any discrepancies.
  • Ensuring strict compliance with all environmental laws and permits.
In 2014, the North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers (NDSPE) awarded the collaborative team of HEI, BNSF, and TKDA the Outstanding Engineering Design award for this project's engineering design, innovation, quality, and uniqueness.