The rail industry is performing significant expansion and upgrading facilities throughout the Upper Midwest to increase capacity for Bakken oil transport, agriculture and other expanding markets in the region. AET is providing geotechnical and construction materials testing services on projects for Canadian National, Canadian Pacific and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroads. We are also working on numerous rail loading/unloading facilities for various private clients.
Recent rail projects have included geotechnical exploration for several track expansion projects in North Dakota. Drill access was difficult in many parts of the region due to existing rail lines running through swampy areas, requiring geotechnical testing, analysis and engineering. We are also working on numerous rail bridge replacement and widening projects in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois to handle heavy freight capacity and to meet government standards.
Another impact of the Bakken oil boom is the need for large rail loading and unloading facilities. These projects include new sidings or rail loops and have many structures requiring special foundations. Large crude oil and frac sand storage tanks and the frac sand unloading equipment have high loads and low settlement tolerances. Our Geotechnical Group is experienced in evaluating these sites and facilities. In addition, AET can provide quality assurance testing services during construction.