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Stantec Earns National Engineering Design Award for Long Island Rail Road Third Track Expansion Project

NEW YORK, NY — Stantec, a sustainable design and engineering firm, received one of the eight Grand Awards in the 2024 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Third Track Expansion Project. Stantec was the lead designer of this project, which added a third track to the busiest commuter line in the U.S.

Originally built in the early 1800s, the LIRR consisted of two tracks serving about 50,000 people. Today, those same two tracks carry more than 72 million customers annually. This complex project upgraded a heavily utilized 9.8-mile two-track Main Line segment, adding a third track. The third track substantially improved train operations and safety, while increasing capacity and allowing for future regional growth. It also facilitated the optimal use of the newly completed multi-billion-dollar Grand Central Madison station, or East Side Access project as it is more commonly known.

The project improves peak train service, reliability, and reverse commuting by providing an over 40 percent increase in LIRR service, making Long Island more accessible to the entire region and a viable destination for economic activity. The project also provides safer, quieter crossings, which will reduce noise along the project corridor, decrease congestion, and improve air quality. Station upgrades include greater ADA accessibility, customer amenities, and overall aesthetic improvements to the adjacent communities.

Innovative design strategies were employed to replace seven grade crossings with a new depressed roadway and a new railroad bridge. The new three-track wide bridges were cast-in-place adjacent to the existing tracks and then were hydraulic jacked into position beneath the LIRR, the first time this technique has been used in the U.S. By pushing precast bridges into place, each bridge only required a weekend rail closure for construction, ensuring minimal disruption for the traveling public.

“The Long Island Rail Road Third Track Expansion Project has transformed the nation’s busiest commuter rail line, offering better rail service for the community and contributing to Long Island’s economic prosperity,” said Susan Walter, Design Manager for LIRR and Executive Vice President for Infrastructure at Stantec. “The innovative design techniques employed, close partnership with our contractor and end client, and community support all contributed to the success of the project.”

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“I’m happy to say that we brought this megaproject in on time and under budget,” said Anthony Tufano, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Vice President and LIRR Third Track Project Executive. “The partnership on this project — from designer to constructor — is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

Stantec served as lead designer for the project as part of 3rd Track Constructors, a consortium of contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, and related tradesmen and professionals.

The ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards honors the year’s most outstanding engineering accomplishments, recognizing engineering firms for projects demonstrating exceptional innovation, complexity, achievement, and value. Projects across the nation are rated on uniqueness and innovative applications; future value to the engineering profession; perception by the public; social, economic, and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs.

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