STV Develops Design for New SMART Commuter Service
Nov 2, 2017
STV, a leading transportation engineering firm, was the lead designer for California’s newest commuter rail service, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART), which recently went into revenue service and is expected to be a more environmentally friendly alternative for commuters along the US 101 corridor in the North Bay area.
As part of the design-build team led by the Stacy & Witbeck/Herzog joint venture, STV provided engineering services for all rail, civil, and structural improvements for SMART’s 43-mile initial operating segment connecting the Sonoma County Airport to San Rafael, CA. STV’s portion of the $120 million initiative included the rehabilitation or replacement of 41 miles of track that is being shared with the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, as well as 25 bridges and numerous grade crossings and alignments. The firm also designed the boarding platforms for the segment’s 10 stations, and is currently engaged in final design of the line’s first planned extension, to Larkspur Ferry Terminal, which will provide a link to San Francisco Bay Area destinations.
“The SMART system will play a critical role in alleviating traffic congestion in the Bay Area,” said David Borger, P.E., P.P., STV senior vice president and principal-in-charge for the project. “Throughout the design and construction process, our firm worked closely with the transit district, the builder and various other stakeholders to help develop creative solutions that ultimately made this day possible.”
One innovative element of STV’s design was the use of special “gauntlet tracks” that overlap with the main line to give wider freight trains the necessary clearance to safely pass through passenger platform areas. In one location, these tracks were used along a sweeping segment of curved track where the historic Santa Rosa Station is situated. STV worked closely with a special trackwork manufacturer to devise custom curved-geometry gauntlet switches, thereby allowing SMART to retain the existing station layout.
STV also supported SMART in developing its own standard bridge drawings and assisted in making sure work complied with those drawings during pile driving and other work operations.
The completion of SMART’s initial segment marks yet another new California passenger rail system that STV has supported. In the early 1990s, STV was the general engineering consultant for Southern California’s Metrolink service, the first commuter rail system to go into operation in Los Angeles. More recently, STV was contracted by the Riverside County Transportation Commission to perform planning and environmental studies, as well as engineering and construction support for the 91/Perris Valley Line, a Metrolink extension in Riverside County. Currently, the firm is preparing environmental and engineering documents for the Burbank to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Anaheim project sections of California’s inaugural high-speed rail system, which will ultimately connect the San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles/Anaheim.
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