The Union Pacific Railroad is in the midst of a project to replace 92,700 railroad ties and upgrade 63 crossings between Turlock and Fresno. The $27.5 million project is underway this month in Merced County.
Railroad spokesman Mark W. Davis of Omaha, Neb., said the overall project includes laying 57,100 tons of rock ballast and upgrading two switches. Most of the tracks in the Merced and Atwater areas have had the tie and ballast work recently completed.
Davis said the project is one of nearly 1,500 Union Pacific will complete across its 32,000-mile network this year to help trains operate efficiently, reduce motorist wait times at crossings and enhance safety.
Aaron Hunt, director of corporate relations and media for UP in Roseville, said 175 employees have been involved in the tie replacement program. The project began Feb. 20 and is scheduled to be completed by mid-October.
Davis said more than 111/2 miles of new rail will be put down between Turlock and Fresno. Crews will make improvements at the Fresno rail yard by replacing 30,200 ties and laying 26,400 tons of rock ballast.
Union Pacific connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country, providing a critical link in the global supply chain, according to its website. From 2007-2013, Union Pacific invested more than $21.6T billion in its operations to support transportation infrastructure, Davis said.