In early 2021, the Utah State Legislature approved $300 million to improve FrontRunner service through strategic additions of double tracking. The FrontRunner Forward Program, in partnership with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), is analyzing the potential locations of these double track segments throughout the existing FrontRunner corridor to increase speed, reliability, and frequency of the existing FrontRunner service. This in-depth analysis takes into consideration the local and system-wide impacts of each double-track segment, the type of service envisioned (express service that skips certain stops during rush hour, for example), and connections to local UTA services. The program also is gathering information about possible impacts that double-tracking would have on surrounding areas for the segments of focus.
The following segments were identified for environmental study and preliminary design to the 30% level:
- Warm Springs
- South of Salt Lake
- South of Murray
- South of Draper
- Beck Siding
Project Scope, Successes
PRE provided assessment services in its role as a systems subconsultant during this preliminary design stage. PRE reviewed existing systems documentation within the project limits to assess impacts to proposed double track and other civil design elements. PRE produced preliminary signal system layouts and modifications necessary to complete the project. At grade crossings within the project limits were also evaluated for double track impacts, including placement of warning devices. PRE completed interdisciplinary reviews and produced a preliminary systems construction cost estimate.
Unique challenges included assessing the limited right-of-way for signal system enclosures to identify potential needs for property acquisition. Coordination was also required where existing FrontRunner tracks are located to adjacent Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
- $300 million state level investment in FrontRunner commuter rail system
- Introduction of multiple double track segments to reduce train headways and implementation of system speed increases
- PRE completed systems assessments for environmental analysis and preliminary design for 5 segments