Douglassville Railroad Bridge (SR 2077, Section 02B)

Location: Berks County, PA

Owner: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Active railroads, multi-use trails and regulated material were just some of the challenges on this unique design project on River Bridge Road (SR 2077). The presence of related major transportation projects in the area, including SR 2077 over the Schuylkill River (also designed by CCJM and currently under construction) required implementation of a strictly controlled construction schedule.

The Schuylkill River Multi-use Trail parallels the Schuylkill River from Pottsville to Philadelphia. The Douglassville Railroad Bridge spans the Thun Section of this trail and two active Norfolk Southern (NS) Railroad lines. An Environmental Site Assessment of the project area culminated in a waste management plan for the removal of fill containing cobalt exceeding the PA DEP Clean Fill Concentration Limit. Underground Storage Tanks and several underground utilities were identified on adjacent property. A carefully designed project footprint avoided these underground facilities.

Interviews with local residents identified an ongoing concern of access during large flood events. To alleviate this concern, CCJM proposed a grass drive for emergency access. The Heritage Festival held immediately north of the bridge also required additional coordination with Amity Township officials to expedite an effective and thoughtful detour. Finally, CCJM spearheaded extraordinary coordination efforts with NS and the PUC to meet required RR vertical and horizontal clearances and with Amity Township and the Thun Trail owners to provide access over structure for the developing Leaf Creek Trail and protection for the Thun trail beneath the structure during construction.

The new structure is a 2-span composite prestressed spread box beam bridge providing the required railroad clearances, improving safety by providing improved sight distances approaching the adjacent intersection and accommodating critical utilities. A retaining wall constructed along the approach to the structure enables connectivity between the Thun Trail and the Leaf Creek Trail. This retaining wall, at nearly 400’ long, minimized Right-of-Way takes and enabled a gently sloped sidewalk with flat sections along the structure meeting all applicable Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifications.