Iowa Interstate Railroad, LTD opens the William J. Duggan Bridge for rail traffic

Booneville, Iowa – The Iowa Interstate Railroad, LTD (IAIS) opened the new William J. Duggan Bridge in Booneville, IA to freight rail traffic on June 30, 2020. This new, state-of-the-art structure crosses the Raccoon River west of Des Moines, IA and replaces a 119-year-old through truss bridge. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funded half of the project costs through a Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant of $3.5 million. The project was completed in record-setting time and under budget.
“The William J. Duggan Bridge will ensure safe and efficient freight connections between IAIS customers and rail destinations across North America and around the world,” said IAIS President Joe Parsons. “Completion of this project is yet another step in our unending drive at IAIS to prioritize safety, resiliency, and reliability in everything we do.”
“This bridge is a fitting tribute to Bill Duggan’s ongoing lifetime of service to the industry in this country and around the world which continues to this day” said Henry Posner III, chairman of IAIS. “After the bankruptcy of our predecessor the Rock Island in 1980, the IAIS route was deemed unnecessary and nearly liquidated: in fact, parts of the railroad stood idle until 1984. Bill came to the Iowa Interstate from the Illinois Central in 1989, and was tasked with keeping the railroad running with very limited traffic and funding. The early years were tough, but we have evolved into today’s strong, stable, resilient route connecting Iowa and Illinois to the world because of the foundation-both physical and cultural- laid by Bill. It is especially appropriate that this bridge carry his name as our West End has historically been our lowest-density segment and was at one point a re-abandonment candidate.”
Bill Duggan served as IAIS’ VP-Engineering, then VP-Operations, from 1989 to 1999, and has since served as VP-Operations of IAIS’ parent Railroad Development Corp. (RDC), where his roles have included service as President of Ferrovias Guatemala and responsibility for passenger businesses in Germany.
IAIS, FRA, and US DOT successfully completed construction in under 17 months from the date of award. Fifty percent of funding for the William J. Duggan Bridge was awarded by FRA on February 8, 2019 with IAIS funding the remaining 50%. The William J. Duggan Bridge is 661′-6″ long and consists of eight 75′ steel beam spans set on nine cast-in-place concrete piers with two concrete bents supporting a pre-stressed concrete box beam. Unlike the antiquated predecessor structure, the William J. Duggan Bridge will support sustained 40-mph train speeds with modern 286,000-pound freight rail cars and no dimensional load limitations.
Project engineering was led by HDR, Inc. of Omaha, NE. Bridge general contractor was A.M. Cohron & Son, Inc. of Atlantic, IA. IAIS Chief Engineer Chad Lambi, PE and Assistant Chief Engineer Greg D. Mitchell, PE oversaw project construction for IAIS.