Pile of discarded railroad ties remains in Merced after replacement project

05/22/2014 8:02 PM

05/22/2014 11:13 PM

Thousands of discarded railroad ties are piled up along the Union Pacific Railroad right of way in Merced, the result of the railroad’s tie replacement project between Turlock and Fresno.

The pile of ties, easily 12 feet tall, lies between R and V streets near the tracks. Omaha-based UP spokesman Mark Davis said a contracted private company will pick up the ties, typically two to four weeks after the project is finished.

The project is costing $27.8 million. It began March 16 and is scheduled to be completed by June 12, Davis said. Once the castoff ties are removed by the contractor, they are recycled for use by garden centers, landscapers and farmers.

Davis said the railroad is replacing 92,800 ties and laying 57,000 tons of rock ballast between Turlock and Fresno. Crews also are redoing the surfaces at 63 road crossings, replacing nearly 12 miles of rail and two switches.

The project is one of nearly 1,500 UP will complete across its 32,000-mile network this year to help improve train operating efficiency, reduce motorist wait times at crossings and enhance safety. From 2007 to 2013, UP invested more than $21.6 billion in its network and operations to support its transportation infrastructure, Davis said.

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