COLT Railroad US Highway 63 Overpass Design

With the resurgence of the COLT Railroad, the existing at-grade crossing at US Highway 63, a high-speed, 4-lane divided highway, became a considerable safety hazard to the traveling public. To determine a fast, safe, and reliable solution to this growing problem, and meet a pending deadline to qualify for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding, the City of Columbia (owner of the COLT Railroad) asked Modjeski and Masters, Inc. (M&M) to provide the necessary engineering resolution to their challenges.

After the sixteen month final design schedule was compressed to ten months, M&M quickly went to work designing the overpass structure, a 6-span steel girder bridge with four deck girder approach spans and two 85’ through plate girder main spans. The piers are skewed to align with the highway while the abutments are squared to the railroad alignment. To save time during the design process, M&M started final design prior to preliminary plan review. Frequent partnering meetings were held between all stakeholders. To reduce interruptions to traffic due to construction, all spans over the traveling lanes were erected during limited nighttime lane closures. M&M successfully provided a quality design within the altered schedule.

Bridge Geometry
Length of Main Spans 85 feet
Total Project Length 2,850 feet
Total Structure Length 459 feet
Tracks on Existing Structure 1 Track

Without Modjeski and Masters’ willingness and ability to rapidly accelerate their design efforts….the bridge would not have been funded or constructed. This effort, while maybe not widely known, is much appreciated by COLT and the citizens of Columbia.

- Christian Johanningmeier, City of Columbia