South Florida Rail Corridor Consultant

Location Broward/Miami‐Dade/Palm Beach, Florida

Owner Florida Department of Transportation

Client Florida Department of Transportation

  • Transit Station Planning/Design
  • Railroad Crossing Design (Grade‐Separated)
  • Transit Planning/Design
  • Program Management
  • State/Federal Funding Procedure Compliance
  • Asset Inventory
  • Railway Track Planning/Design
  • Railroad Bridge Design
  • Heavy Rail Transit Planning/Design
  • Inventory and Condition Assessment
  • Railroad Crossing Design (At‐Grade)
  • Railroad Coordination
  • Station Planning/Design
  • Grant Administration
  • Light Rail Transit Planning/Design

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) owns and operates Tri‐Rail, a commuter rail system that serves Broward, Miami‐Dade, and Palm Beach Counties. Within SFRTA’s operating limits, Tri‐Rail runs 50 trains per day on weekdays and 30 trains per day on weekends. The rail system is also used by CSXT, which operates approximately 11 freight trains per day, and Amtrak, which operates approximately four trains per day. While Tri‐Rail is owned by SFRTA, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) owns the rail corridor and rail line. To assist FDOT with day‐to‐day corridor operations, Lochner has been hired as the South Florida Rail Corridor Consultant under a five‐year, $5 million master on‐call contract. Responsibilities include performing railroad maintenance monitoring in addition to a wide range of engineering, architectural, environmental mitigation, land surveying, technical, management, asset management, and administrative services.

Currently, Lochner is developing a bridge maintenance plan that identifies all railway bridges within the corridor and documents their condition. To support a paperless initiative, the Lochner team is creating an asset management software with a GIS component that will allow on‐site bridge inspectors to submit documentation using a tablet.

Lochner’s in‐house staff is responsible for processing SFRTA, Florida East Coast (FEC), and CSXT invoices; maintaining track, bridge, and signal inventories; analyzing quiet zones; and coordinating with SFRTA representatives. The team also manages multiple capital projects, including new rail line extensions, improvements to the Miami Intermodal Center Capacity on the Miami River, and the construction of new maintenance buildings and facilities, such the Northern Layover Facility. Additionally, Lochner provides general oversight of the corridor’s maintenance and operations, coordinates roadway transfer and side‐track agreements, and is involved in preparing various agreements for road crossing rehabilitations, warning device upgrades, and rail projects along the South Florida Rail Corridor, FEC Rail Corridor, CSX Corridor, and U.S. Sugar/South Central Florida Express Corridor.

Lochner’s work as the South Florida Rail Corridor Consultant will also include contributing to the Section 130 Program, which provides funding to eliminate hazards at railway/highway crossings. Since its inception in 1987, the program has been correlated with a significant decrease in fatalities at railway/highway grade crossings despite an increase in vehicle miles traveled on roadways and an increase in passenger and freight traffic on railways. To support this effort, Lochner is developing a method to conduct regular surveys of all railroad/highway crossings that may require separation, relocation, or protective devices. Once compiled, the team will establish a schedule of projects to provide signage for these crossings.

Lochner will also compile a database of previous projects, which will be used to verify that future railroad cost estimates are reasonable and consistent with industry standards and prior project costs. A specific evaluation/risk assessment process of methodology will be developed to prioritize rail crossing projects where specific solutions for improving crossing safety have been created.

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