Olsson Associates has a standing, open-end contract with Union Pacific Railroad Company (UPRR) to provide hydrologic and hydraulic evaluations and environmental permitting assistance throughout the Central and Western United States.
In April 2007, a portion of the UPRR bridge (92.12 - Martinez Subdivision) that ran over the American River in Sacramento, California, and consisted of timber trestle was destroyed by a fire incident. As an emergency response for the purpose to quickly restore rail track services, Olsson was contacted to provide emergency permitting services, as well as to assist in developing plans for the replacement structure. With Olsson’s assistance, UPRR was able to replace the structure and restore rail traffic in a few months.
It was essential to quickly determine the size of the replacement bridge and to coordinate with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies to obtain emergency and after-fact permits. The bridge is built over a navigable river reach. It is also within the critical habitat area for several threatened and endangered species. These species include chinook salmon, steelhead fish, delta smelt, giant garter snake, and valley elderberry longhorn beetle. To minimize impacts to these species, there was a relatively small window of opportunity to do the construction work, which made timely permit approval even more important.
Olsson conducted wetland, habitat, and threatened and endangered species surveys. Olsson also prepared all permit applications. Permits were required from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Game, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, and California Department of Water Resources. Permits also required coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service.
Despite the complexity of Endangered Species Act (ESA) issues and permitting requirements, Olsson obtained all environmental permits. Because of Olsson’s expertise and emphasis on client service, Olsson is UPRR’s preferred provider for bridge and culvert studies and environmental permitting.