Colorado Floods Leave Railway Track Dangling Over 75-foot Drop-Off

Oct 11, 2013

Recent rains and subsequent flooding along the Front Range in Colorado have taken their toll on infrastructure throughout the region. In a narrow canyon near Boulder, a Union Pacific Railroad Line berm containing sixty thousand cubic yards of fill was washed downstream in an instant, leaving a 160-foot gap and 320 feet of track dangling over a 75-foot drop off.


Rail line engineering experts CDM Smith called Sunrise Engineering’s Salt Lake City Surveying Department, requesting that they be on the site within 24 hours. Through the 3D Scanning process, Sunrise quickly captured the entire work area and determined how much material had been lost in the wash-out. Within 36 hours Sunrise delivered an AutoCAD 3D Surface that was used as an underlay for the design on the new berm. The initial design was completed by CDM Smith the next day and after a following day of revisions Sunrise Surveyors started construction staking survey.


Crews from all over the country have been working around the clock to construct a new berm and repair the track before the winter frost. By the first week of October the new berm containing flood-resistant materials was constructed and the railway was ready for construction vehicle use. Engineers and crews are currently preparing to bore and jack 48-inch, ¾’ wall steel storm drain pipelines through the berm to prevent future flooding.


Please click on the attached PDF document to view the 3D scans and videos of the project site.