December 23, 2016
Press Releases & News

Clark/Parsons Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction Team Completes First Phase of Construction More Than a Month Ahead of Schedule

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Clark Civil, in a joint venture with Parsons, has completed the first phase of work on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction project more than a month ahead of the contract schedule. The Virginia Avenue Tunnel serves as a critical route for freight trains traveling through Washington, D.C., to points north and south, as well as for freight traffic from eastern seaports to the Midwest. The Clark/Parsons JV is leading design and construction efforts to expand the more than a century old, 3,800-foot-long, single-track tunnel to accommodate double-stack intermodal container trains, and also is installing a second track. The completion of Phase 1 signals the opening of the first of two new tunnel structures to double-stack rail traffic. 
Due to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel’s massive excavation, support of excavation, and concrete scopes, numerous Clark entities are playing an integral role in moving the project forward. Crews from Clark Civil, Clark Foundations, Clark Concrete, Clark Water Group, C3M Power Systems, and Metro Earthworks currently comprise more than 70 percent of the project’s workforce. Working in concert, the team has been able to gain greater control of the schedule, effectively solve project challenges, and maintain a safe and secure jobsite for craft workers, train operations, and local residents. As joint venture partner, Parsons has performed work as the lead designer, quality assurance, safety, and construction support services. 
To complete Phase 1, the Clark/Parsons JV permanently relocated major utilities, performed extensive excavation and trenching, demolished a portion of the existing tunnel’s south wall and roof to accommodate the new south tunnel alignment, and constructed a secant pile wall system adjacent to the remaining section of the south wall to act as a support of excavation system, as well as a permanent dividing wall between the new tracks for the majority of the reconstructed tunnel. Crews then constructed a new 4,100-foot, cut-and-cover, cast-in-place concrete structure south of the existing brick and stone masonry tunnel. All work was successfully performed without impact to active rail operations.  
With Phase 1 complete, all freight train traffic will be diverted to the new south tunnel. During Phase 2, the team will demolish the remaining sections of the existing tunnel’s roof and south wall and construct the new north tunnel. At the end of this phase, crews will backfill over the tunnel, remove temporary bridges, and completely rebuild ten blocks of Virginia Avenue with many upgraded amenities, including a new bike path connecting the existing Capitol Hill bike network to join up with the Anacostia River Waterfront trails. 
When finished, the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction project will dramatically increase freight rail capacity through the CSX I-95 corridor and to the Midwest. The entire project is currently slated to be complete in 2018.