Muskingum Valley Line Relocations
(Ohio) 1936 - B&O, Erie, PRR, W&LE

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Railway Age September 6, 1936 Article
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53 Miles of Railway Relocated in Ohio Flood-Control Project

Rapid progress is being made on nine route changes required at flood reservoir sites in Muskingum valley

By far the largest program of railway line construction that has been in progress during the last year is embraced in the relocations made necessary by the flood control work in the Muskingum valley in Southeastern Ohio. To replace railway lines that will be subjected to inundation by the system of reservoirs that is now being provided in the Muskingum drainage area, it is necessary to locate and construct nine individual relocations for four different railways, embracing 50.72 miles of line. Including 16.64 miles of sidings, the new roadbeds will accommodate 67.5 miles of track. In addition to some 4,750,000 cu. yd. of grading, this work involves 40,000 cu. yd. of concrete construction, 3,250 tons of structural steel, 24,000 lin. ft. of metal­encased concrete piles, 1,400 tons of reinforcing steel and 825 tons of cast iron culvert pipe, as well as several station buildings and an installation of water supply facilities. The railway construction will involve an expenditure of about $6,000,000.

Embraces a Large Area

The Muskingum valley drainage basin extends from Marietta on the Ohio river to within 20 miles of Cleve­land on the north, 12 miles of Columbus on the west and 20 miles of the Pennsylvania state line on the east.

Part of the Muskingum Water Shed Showing the Reservoir Sites and the Railway Relocations

It embraces about one-fifth of the area of Ohio and represents 23 per cent of the watershed drained by the Ohio river at Marietta (where the Ohio receives the waters of the Muskingum) . Repeated destruction of property in the valley as a result of recurring floods had led to early consideration of flood restrictive meas­ures. But the task proved exceedingly formidable, and an eventual realization that it did not lend itself to piece-meal attack by the individual communities affected led to the organization of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District on June 3, 1933, under the Con­servancy Act of Ohio.

This plan provided for the financing of construction through the levying of benefit assessments against prop­erty in the district, but an application for federal assist­ance resulted in the allocation, in December of that year, of $22,090,000 of funds of the Public Works Adminis­tration to the Corps of Engineers of the United States War Department for the design and construction of flood-control and water-conservation reservoirs, and all other construction except the relocation of highways. The conservancy district assumed the cost of all land and rights of way required and the expense of the highway work, but the latter was later taken over by the state highway department, and the state also appropriated $2,000,000 to aid in the acquisition of lands, leaving about $6,000,000 to be raised by the levying of assessments against property within the district. The total cost of the project is estimated at about $37,000,000.

Fourteen Reservoirs

As shown on the map, the project embraces 14 reser­voirs located mainly near the headwaters of the various tributary streams. However, only seven of these affect railway property. These reservoirs, the railway lines involved and the mileages in each relocation are shown in the table. In addition to the 10 relocations, 2 lines were abandoned, and the relocation of 1.6 miles of an­other line was avoided by arranging for joint use of one relocation by two roads. The official plan also con­templated the relocation of 1.45 miles of the Pennsyl­vania's Marietta branch where the track is a few feet below water level in the Bolivar reservoir, but inasmuch as it is estimated that this line will not be flooded more than once in 100 years, a settlement was made with the railway in lieu of a relocation.

A general description of this railway project was pre­sented in an article by Gilbert H. Friend, senior engineer and chief of the railroad section, U. S. Engineer office, Zanesville, Ohio, that was published in the Railway Age of December 28, 1935, page 851. As Mr. Friend's article included a detailed treatment of the extensive studies made in the selection of the routes for the va­rious relocations, and discussed the problem of the adoption of construction standards satisfactory to the four railways involved, these phases of the work will not be reviewed here.

Character of the Relocations

As the sites chosen for the reservoirs were necessarily those that provided the maximum storage capacity for the least expenditure for dams, the terrain in the vicinity of the dams is generally characterized by deep valleys, often with steep side slopes, but with less pronounced differences in elevation and flatter slopes in the upper reaches of the areas that will be inundated. Consequently the character of the country encountered at the site of the several relocations is subject to wide variations.

In most cases, the procedure was to find support for the relocated line higher up on the valley sides, so that a considerable part of the construction is sidehill work. This is not true in all cases, however. For example, lines crossing the valleys have had to be raised on high embankments, and this expedient has been adopted also where a relocation providing natural support would have involved too wide a detour from the original location.

In general, the policy adopted in laying out and con­structing the relocations was to select lines that will provide, as nearly as possible, the equivalent of the lines replaced. It has been readily possible to avoid any grades in excess of the ruling grades on the lines af­fected and, in most cases, the distance and curvature on the new lines are less than on the old lines. The maxi­mum degree of curvature on the new lines is four de­grees, except one curve of five degrees in the Wills Creek tunnel, referred to later, and a curve of six degrees on the Wheeling & Lake Erie-Beach City relocation. The maximum grade is one per cent.

Map of the Pennsylvania Relocation in the Wills Creek Reservoir Area

Avoid Extraordinary Maintenance

The roadbed width (single track) is 20 ft. on embank­ments and 26 ft. in cuts, except in the relocation of a minor branch line of the B. & O. on the Dover project, where the widths are 16 ft. and 20 ft., respectively. These roadbed dimensions are in some cases in excess of those on the lines replaced but were adopted as an element in a construction policy designed to provide roadways of a character that will obviate any extraordinary maintenance of the lines after they are placed in service.

Map Showing the Relocations in the Vicinity of Valley Junction in the Dover Reservoir Area

At the beginning of the negotiations, the railroad com­panies were inclined to stress claims for extraordinary maintenance, which were based on the increased cost of maintaining newly-constructed roadbeds. However, this difficulty was largely removed by requiring that the embankments shall be constructed in one-foot layers and each layer thoroughly compacted by rolling with an approved type of power-driven roller. The specifications provide that if satisfactory compaction is obtained by the operation of tractor haulage and spreading equipment, the use of the roller may be dispensed with. As a mat­ter of fact, the contractors have made extensive use of large capacity trucks, tractors and crawler wagons, including, also, some of the tractor-hauled LeTourneau carts, while bulldozers mounted on tractors are employed for spreading material. Excellent compaction is being thereby generally obtained without the use of special rol1ers. Because of these measures to insure solidification, no excess height was added to the fills to provide for shrinkage, although the width at roadbed level was in­creased one foot to allow for sloughing. A railroad crossing was provided with a concrete slab support under the ballast.

Character of Materials

The materials encountered in the railway locations em­brace everything from shales, sandstones and limestones of the carboniferous period to deposits of glacial sands and gravels in the bottoms of the valleys. Narrow seams of coal were exposed in not a few of the cuts. The hardest rock excavation was involved in the Wheeling & Lake Erie's Beach City relocation, where the rock is a hard sandstone not encountered on the other projects. Marked irregularity in the elevation of bed rock in the valley bottoms introduced wide variations in the founda­tions for bridge substructures. For example, two piers and one abutment of the Tuscarawas river bridge on the Wheeling & Lake Erie are on rock, while the other pier and abutment had to be supported on piles. Also, one crossing of Conotton creek afforded rock foundation, while another but a short distance away demanded pile foundations.

A Construction View of Dover Dam--Grade of Pennsylvania Relo­cated Line Is Indicated by the Dotted Line. The Old Line Is Seen Below

Driving the Fluted Shells for Cast-in-Place Concrete Piles

Most of the material excavated from cuts was of a na­ture that formed stable embankments. Slides in cuts introduced a much more serious problem. For example, in the vicinity of the dam on the Pennsylvania's Dover relocation, where the new line was located in the steep side hill about 45 ft. above the old line, a slide developed shortly after excavation was started. Investigation dis­closed evidence of an old slide and a lack of stability of the material up to the top of the hill. To meet this situ­ation, shovels were cut in at the top of the slide to work progressively down to grade level in removing the un­stable materia1 and it was found necessary to excavate about 75,000 cu. yd. of material outside the neat prism of the cut. Cuts are excavated to slopes of 3/4 to 1 in. rock and the firmer shales. 1 to 1 in the softer shales and 1 1/2 to 1 in earth. As a rule, the quantities in cuts and fills were balanced, but on the W. &L E. work referred to above, where the cuts were largely in rock, it proved cheaper to adopt an unbalanced profile so as to reduce the cut excavation and make up the deficiency in em­bankment from borrow pits. The maximum depth of the cuts on the various projects is about 80 ft., while the maximum height of fill is about 50 ft.

Contract Work

All grading contracts were awarded on the basis of a single unit price per cubic yard, unclassified, with 3,000 ft. of free haul, bidders basing their estimates on test-boring records furnished with the invitations. As a matter of fact, under the exacting requirements imposed in the awarding of government work, the information finished to bidders was necessarily far more complete than that which ordinarily suffices all railroad work. In addi­tion to complete profiles, alignment maps, and specifica­tions, the data supplied included detail plans of all bridges, buildings, water supply facilities, etc., including even drawings of the track fastenings.

Crawler-Mounted Equipment Is Used Extensively in the Grading

The grading is being prosecuted on an intensive scale. For example, in a typical month (May, 1936), 506,000 cu. yd. of material was moved, or more than 10 per cent of the total yardage involved in the railway work. The equipment employed during that month on the nine grad­ing contracts embraced 15 power shovels, 9 scoops, 7 cranes, 1 excavating grader and 2 drag lines.

Track work is all done by contract except where it in­terferes with train operation and except for the track changes involved in cutting in the relocated lines. This work is being done by railway forces and the expense billed against the project authority. The practice with respect to track materials is, for the most part, as fol­lows: The railroads furnish rails, rail joints, tie plates, rail anchors, frogs, switches and guard rails for applica­tion on the relocated lines in exchange for the equivalent materials taken up on the lines that are to be abandoned. The project authority furnishes new spikes, bolts, ties and ballast. The tracks are all ballasted with washed and crushed gravel containing not less than 15 to 20 per cent of crushed material.

A Highway Under Crossing

Bridge Work

The bridges include beam spans up to 30 ft. in length, plate girder spans lip to 125 ft. long, and one 150-ft. through truss span. With the exception of a bridge on the main line of the Erie, designed for E-70 loading, the structures have been proportioned for E-60. All steel spans have open decks with creosoted wood ties and guard timbers. The longest bridge is a deck plate girder structure 361 ft. 8 in. long between faces of back walls, with two 100-ft. spans in the middle, and having a 75 ft. span at each end. A distinctive feature of the bridge work is an open frame abutment, with the nose of the embankment sloping-through and around it, insurance against sloughing of these slopes being provided by a stipulation in the grading specifications that the embank­ments at and around these abutments and for 25 ft. to the rear of them must be formed of rock.

Another noteworthy feature embodied in many of the structures is the use of metal-encased, cast-in-place re­inforced-concrete piles, both as foundation piles (where the cut-off is above ground water level) and as bents in beam-span trestle structures. The casing of these piles is a fluted shell of 7-gage steel, 8 in. in diameter at the tip and with a taper that provides a diameter of 18 in. at the butt of a 40-ft. pile. Provided with a heavy steel point, these shells, manufactured by the Union Metal Products Company, Canton, Ohio, possess sufficient strength to permit them to be driven without the use of a mandrel.

Temporary Trestle to Carry W. & L E, Relocated Line Over B. & O. Line to Be Abandoned

These piles have been used in four highway under­crossings and several stream crossings, Usually in three ­span structures. Single bents of six-piles each are used for the intermediate supports, with two rows of piles in the end bents, the inner row of piles being battered. At the stipulation of the engineers for the railways, exposed piles have been encased above the ground level in a shell of concrete four inches thick.

Except in the case of the Dover reservoir, the various railway relocations were isolated, and could therefore be developed as individual problems. This, however, was not true at the Dover project, where it was necessary to work out a satisfactory solution covering three railways that occupied common territory near the deepest part of the reservoir. For this reason, some details of these locations are presented below, followed by an account of some of the salient features of the Pennsylvania's Wills Creek project.

An Example of One of the Larger Stream Crossings

Dover Reservoir Relocations

The Dover reservoir is in the shape of an unsymmetrical cross, with its long stem extending northwest and southeast and its short stem northeast and southwest. The main line of the Wheeling & Lake Erie occupies the long stem, while the Marietta line of the Pennsylvania occupies the short stem, the two lines crossing at grade at Valley Junction. In addition, a branch line of the Baltimore & Ohio enters the valley from the northeast, in a location generally parallel with the Pennsylvania, from Mineral City to a connection with the Wheeling & Lake Erie at Valley Junction, where the latter road has a yard that is used for interchange with the B. & O.

The relocated lines of both the Pennsylvania and the Wheeling & Lake Erie are supported, for the most part, on the sides of the valley above the position of the lines they replace, the latter relocation, 14.6 miles long, being the longest and most costly in the entire district. How­ever, in the vicinity of Valley Junction, where all the ex­isting railway facilities, as well as the town will be inun­dated by the reservoir, both of the new lines are carried across the valley on long high embankments, and cross at grade on high ground north of the old crossing in the valley. Each embankment is broken by a three-span deck plate girder bridge across Conotton creek.

Wills Creek Reservoir

Since the portion of the B. & O. line that will be sub­merged serves almost entirely as a connection with the W. & L. E., and because the Pennsylvania relocation be­tween Mineral City and Valley Junction affords the most direct connection with the W. & L. E., and the further fact that the traffic on both the Pennsylvania and B. & O. lines is light, arrangements have been made for the joint ownership and operation of this line from Mineral City to Valley Junction by the two roads. The old low-level interchange yard at Valley Junction is being replaced by a new yard just north of the Pennsylvania-W. & L. E. crossing, that will consist of four 4,000 ft. tracks, in addition to a passing track and a wye for turning B. & O. locomotives.

This yard is provided with water service from a reser­voir on the W. & L. E. at Dewey, one mile to the north, where a new intake well is being-provided in addition to a new tank and a 14-in. pipe line to the new yard. A water column is also being provided at the crossing for delivery to Pennsylvania locomotives to replace water facilities on that road at Zoarville that will be submerged by the reservoir.

The reservoir to be created by the dam across Wills creek will inundate 8.25 miles of the Pennsylvania’s Mar­ietta branch, all of this mileage being embraced in a hair­pin loop around a shoulder in the east side of the valley. This loop line was built years ago after a tunnel through the ridge had been rendered unusable by a fire that destroyed the timber lining. As this old tunnel line is above pool level in the reservoir, some consideration was given to the salvaging of the old tunnel, but because of the extreme uncertainties regarding the cost of this plan it was abandoned in favor of a line embracing a tunnel crossing farther to the east that effects a greater saving in distance--the relocation has a length of 3.25 miles compared with 8.25 miles around the loop, and is responsible for a reduction of 260 deg. of curvature.

Outline Drawing of a Typical Bridge Abutment

The tunnel is 750 ft. long on a 5 deg. curve, with ap­proach grades of 0.9 per cent and 1.0 per cent from the south and north respectively, the lighter grade opposing the direction of loaded movement. These grades arc appreciably heavier than those on the abandoned line but are considerably less than those on other portions of this line. The tunnel is in shale that had to be supported as the headings were advanced; in fact, it was necessary to drive wall-plate headings for a considerable distance from each portal before reaching ground that was sufficiently stable to permit the use of the full top heading method. The timber lining that was placed as the headings were advanced was set with sufficient clearance to permit the immediate placing of a concrete lining.

The Muskingum valley project, except for real estate acquisition and highway relocations, is entirely under the direction of Lieut. Col. J. D. Arthur, Tr., district engineer, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army. T. T. Knappen, senior engineer, is chief of the engineering division, and Gilbert H. Friend, senior engineer, is chief of the railroad section. For purposes of administration, the district is divided into four areas, each under the direction of an area engineer. Each dam project and each of the railway relocations is under a resident engineer.

The various relocations are being handled as individual contracts covering all work required for the completion of the relocations ready for operation, other than the fabrication and erection of the steel bridge superstructures, which are being done by the Mt. Vernon Bridge Company, Mt. Vernon, Ohio. In one case the track laying is being handled as a separate contract. With two exceptions, the contracts were awarded between April 18, 1935, and September 4, and on June 1, 1936, 2,756,600 cu. yd. of grading or 58 per cent of the total required yardage had been completed. It is expected that most of the re-locations will be completed late this year.  

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