The project route consisted of a 12 km double-tracked, standard gauge line with 16 stations approximately 0.8 km apart, running from The University of Houston Downtown via the city center including ‘Downtown Transit Center’ to Fannin South park-and-ride terminal. The entire route was at-grade and on city streets. Power supply was from 600/750DC volt overhead wires with nine substations. Station platforms were approximately 70 m long to accommodate the maximum dimension available between crosswalks in downtown city blocks. The southernmost station at Fannin South was located adjacent to a park and ride facility with approximately 1,200 parking spaces.
Our firm provided engineering services for various segments of the METRO Solutions – Light Rail Transit (LRT) construction program designing bridges, stations, platforms, retaining walls, sound walls, utilities, maintenance of traffic, and signals. These services included the following:
Station and Platform Design: We designed ten stations along the route including verification of utility conflicts, foundations for the station canopy, OCS poles and lights, and details for architectural topping concrete finishes.
UPRR Bridge: We provided preliminary design, bridge layout, and bridge design details for a 760m long bridge along Main Street crossing over UPRR and three streets. The bridge carried two tracks and a 3rd pocket track requiring special track work including switches and frogs and plinth details. Our firm developed rail structure interaction using LARSA to determine forces in substructure due to thermal loads and rail breaks. We computed rail break gaps and provided recommendations to reduce rail break gap to less than 2 inches. We provided frequency analysis; reviewed environmental impacts due to the noise, flood plain impacts, and ROW impacts on this project; and implemented cost effective measures for noise abatement. Constraints included restricted ROW, vicinity of the University of Houston Downtown, Main Street tunnel, flood plain and adjoining residential properties. CONSOR also designed retaining walls and addressed settlement issues at embankments.
Buffalo Bayou Bridge: Our firm designed a five-span steel I girder bridge over Buffalo Bayou. The bridge was located between two existing bridges and had restrictions on the width of the substructure as well as the superstructure depth. We designed a unique modified concept and embedded track details that helped reduce depth of superstructure as well eliminate significant dead load on the steel units. We performed frequency analysis and reviewed and implemented recommendations of the rail structure interaction analysis. We provided design for a crash wall at an existing bridge as well as design and details for a 3.7 m tall soundwall for a 195 km/h windload.
HBT Bridge: Our firm provided design for OCS pole attachments, plinth layout, and details for DF track, approach slab, and transition slab details and retaining wall details for the ballasted track.
Existing IH 610 Bridge Retrofits: Our firm provided analysis and inspection of existing bridges along IH 610 for conversion to light rail use. We obtained as-builts and analyzed the existing structures including bridge deck, prestressed concrete U beams, steel plate girders, inverted T bent caps, bent columns, and foundations for light rail loads. We computed the frequency of the existing structure to compare with design criteria. We also provided options, obtained approval, and prepared details for modifications to deck, addition of steel plate girders, modifications to substructure and foundations for the three bridges – Buffalo Bayou Bridge, Memorial Drive overpass, and Woodway Overpass.
Burnett Plaza Elevated Station: Our firm coordinated with the MEP and architectural consultants. We designed the platform on bridge deck, elevator shafts, stairs, emergency stairs, pedestrian rail crossings, OCS pole supports on the bridge, and equipment building associated with this elevated station.
Utility Design: Our firm designed water and sewer relocation plans, coordinated utility conflicts, created details for junction boxes, and designed extra depth manholes on large diameter sewer lines.