Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern (DM&E) Railroad

Powder River Basin Expansion

Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming

Between 1998 and 2009, Benesch was actively consulting to DM&E as a key member of their Owner’s Representative team for their proposed 850-mile Powder River Basin expansion project across Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming. With staff both embedded and working remotely, our team functioned as an extension of DM&E’s staff. Services performed included geotechnical engineering, wetland delineations, environmental assessments, alternatives development and evaluation, design, design coordination and review, construction engineering, and state and local agency coordination. Our Engineering team’s responsibilities included 104 miles of track rehabilitation design, general design review of 260 miles of track on new alignment, deep foundation and pier design for 300+ new and replacement bridges, geotechnical design oversight for 600 miles of track embankment widening, developing mitigation strategies for Pierre Shale issues along 200 miles of track, and numerous emergency engineering analysis and design for track failures. Our Environmental team’s responsibilities included preliminary wetland delineations and Phase I Environmental Site Assessments all on planned acquisition properties (approximately 400 parcels). Using an alternative approach of combining Transaction Screening (ASTM Standard E 1528-06) to prioritize sites for Phase I ESA scrutiny, Benesch was able to complete the project for less than 25% of a competing firm’s proposal at a matching level of risk management decision support on the potential acquisition process.

Project highlights

  • Owner’s Representation
  • Embedded staff
  • Environmental and Engineering partnerships