Light Rail Taken to Another Level

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Anyone who has driven on Highway 6 recently in the Lakewood-Golden area has almost surely noticed the Indiana Street Bridge, on the West Rail Line (future LightRail), towering above 6 (also known a

Anyone who has driven on Highway 6 recently in the Lakewood-Golden area has almost surely noticed the Indiana Street Bridge, on the West Rail Line (future LightRail), towering above 6 (also known as 6th Avenue in the area) at Indiana Street exit near Colorado Mills. The bridge contains the longest span (a part of a bridge between two supports) on the line at 270 feet, and the overall bridge is a little over 1,531 feet long.

 

Going on a walking tour up on the bridge is a completely different view of the project; and if you are just lucky, work might happen to be going on. The bridge would not have been able to be built 20 years ago; however, it can be built today due to improved materials and technology. The bridge has eleven spans. The lightrail goes from the Red Rocks Community College Station, continues to the Indiana Street bridge, where it goes up, curves to a slight right, curves to a slight left, goes down, and then goes through a tunnel under Interstate 70, goes over the Colfax Bridge, and goes to the Jefferson County Government Center – Golden Station.

 

Once the ultimate route is set, and the bridge is completed, then the tracks have to be laid.

 

There are restraining rails on either end of the bridge but not on the bridge because of the shape of the cement under the tracks.. Restraining rails are secondary rails that prevent a train from getting extremely damaged by derailment, although they are only placed where there is a 6 ft. drop to that side (restraining rails do not have to be on both sides if it is not necessary). The tracks are held down to the bridge by metal hooks connected to the track hooked into black rubber holders ( they are electric shock absorbent) which are bolted to the concrete under the tracks. How do they lay down the tracks in the first place? Do they create the tracks in the exact shape they are going to be and lay it down and then put things there to help it stay?The rails come in 80 ft. pieces. They are machine welded into 800 ft. pieces, and transported to the site. There, they are placed in/on the ground/bridge, bolted down (some locations only), and hand-welded to other 800 ft. tracks.

 

To learn more about the Indiana Street Bridge, visit http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/media/uploads/wc/Indiana_Bridge_711.pdf.To learn more about getting a tour, contact Brenda Tierney at Brenda.tierney@rtd-denver.com or go to www.rtd-fastracks.com/wc_106.