Hayden rail spur shaping up | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden rail spur shaping up

Section of project complete; work on US 40 portion continues

Construction crews continue to work on a U.S. Highway 40 overpass near Hayden. The overpass is part of the Xcel Energy project to reconstruct a rail spur to transport coal to Hayden Station power plant.
John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs — The project to reconstruct an existing rail spur to Xcel Energy’s Hayden Station power plant is taking shape. — The project to reconstruct an existing rail spur to Xcel Energy’s Hayden Station power plant is taking shape.

— The project to reconstruct an existing rail spur to Xcel Energy’s Hayden Station power plant is taking shape.

A portion of the project, realigning Routt County Road 27 and building a bridge over it, has been completed, said Heather McLaughlin, senior engineer for the Routt County Road and Bridge Department. McLaughlin said she’s scheduled to go over a punch list with Xcel Energy and Ames Construction, of Aurora.

With the exception of laying the railroad track, McLaughlin said everything concerning C.R. 27 has been completed.

“It should be done unless I find something wrong” today, she said.

Another part of the project, building a railroad bridge across U.S. Highway 40 is not yet complete. But Xcel Energy spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo said much of the construction of retaining walls for the bridge foundations and abutments from the main line to U.S. 40 has been finished.

Aguayo said crews would start installing the main bridge supports over U.S. 40 in the next couple of weeks. She said the work, which would be done at night, would require closure of the highway. Aguayo said a detour and timetable for the work have not yet been determined.

She said drainage and erosion control work would start next week. And Aguayo said some work to get the coal from the train to the power plant has been completed, while other parts would continue through winter. She said crews would continue working as long as the weather allowed and would resume in spring.

Geoff Blakeslee, Yampa River project director for the Nature Conservancy, said Xcel, which he’s collaborated closely with on irrigation improvements at the Carpenter Ranch, has been great to work with. But he said the project, which cuts through the ranch property and a forest area still has affected the area, even thought Xcel has tried to mitigate those issues.

“There’s no question there’s a big wall there that never used to be there,” he said. “It’s a highly visible location, and it really changes things.”

Aguayo said different parts of the project have been shuffled around, but it’s still scheduled for on-time completion.

The spur will leave the Union Pacific Railroad main line three to four times a week with 115 cars per train and travel through a portion of the Carpenter Ranch across U.S. 40 and C.R. 27 to carry coal to the power plant.

County commissioners ap­­proved the project in 2007. Work started in July 2009, and Xcel expects the project to be completed by Oct. 31, 2011.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, cal 871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@steamboatpilot.com

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