Train Trench Project Reaches Milestone

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Reno's downtown train trench project will begin a new phase Tuesday when rail traffic is switched to a temporary bypass track, city officials said.

Called a "shoofly," the temporary track will allow crews to begin removing the old main line that runs through downtown and begin work on the 2.1 mile long trench itself.

"This sets the stage for the major portion of the project, the digging of the trench and building the bridges," said Steve Varela, the city's public works director.

Work so far has focused on setting up the bypass track, and that phase of the project has been completed about a week ahead of schedule, Varela said.

Union Pacific Railroad officials will monitor the bypass track for about two weeks to make sure crossing signals and electronic communications with controllers at the railroad's headquarters in Omaha, Neb., are working properly, officials said.

The $264 million trench project is designed to eliminate 11 street-level railroad crossings in the downtown area.

Removal of the old tracks is expected to begin by the end of April.

The project is targeted for completion in the spring of 2006.