DM&E Powder river basin expansion case study


Courtesy of

Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad (DM&E)
Minnesota to Wyoming, USA

Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad (DM&E) announced in 1997 that it would build over 260 miles of new alignment and rehabilitate 600 miles of track into Wyoming's Powder River Basin (PRB). The venture would upgrade DM&E from a Class II to a Class I rail line. At the time, the railroad expected the expansion to be completed in less than a decade.

Comprehensive environmental, permitting, cultural resources management support and design services kept the project moving toward construction. At least 33 federal and state permits were required before the new rail line could be constructed and thousands of acres were studied to determine wetland mitigation and endangered species needs. When Canadian Pacific Railway announced it would acquire DM&E, the rail line had already reached agreements with 55 of the 56 cities along the route and addressed expansion impacts, such as traffic control and whistle noise.

HDR has assisted DM&E for more than a decade, providing initial environmental assessments and permitting; rail operations planning and modeling; track, yard, bridge and facilities design; and assisting with community relations. We continue to be involved, leading the PRB program general engineering consulting team in project management, cost estimating, scheduling, material procurement, construction contract development, rail and track design, hydrology and hydraulics and overall environmental management for the project.

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