Ames Construction crews installed pipe, placed aggregate and performed structural concrete work and asphalt paving for the Strauss Yard, a rail facility. Located just west of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, the yard sits along the historic “Sunset Route,” one of the oldest and most critical rail corridors in America. The 11.5-mile by one-mile site accommodates 26 buildings to support yard operations, including two fueling facilities, locomotive inspection tracks, an intermodal ramp and switching yard.
Daily temperatures in the desert terrain would reach in excess of 100 degrees throughout the summer, and high winds—exceeding 60 mph during the spring—created dust storms. Face masks, shade curtains and hard hat shields helped to protect workers from the elements, and more than one-half million gallons of water a day were consumed for dust control and construction water. Rain was also a factor, with crews experiencing two 500-year floods within a week’s time.
Working near live rail required particular attention to safety. At one point, when excavating within a few feet of the live rail, crews installed a pile and lagging wall against the rail to allow excavation for sewer and industrial waste near the tracks.
This facility gives New Mexico an inland port that serves as a strategic focal point for goods movement, thus bolstering the economy of Southern New Mexico.