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Southeast Main Avenue, 20th Street & 21st Street Railroad Grade Separation

Southeast Main Avenue intersects 20th Street and 21st Street in eastern Moorhead, Minnesota. Both streets are busy arterial roadways. A Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad line, known as the Moorhead Subdivision, cuts diagonally through the existing street intersection; an additional rail line, the Otter Tail Valley (OTV), crosses the northern approach on 21st Street just outside the intersection.

The OTV tracks join the BNSF tracks just south of the BNSF Mainline, slightly north of the 20th/21st Street crossings. There is a westerly connection of this joint track onto the east-west BNSF Mainline, but no easterly connection. Trains traveling between the east Mainline (Dilworth Yards) and either the OTV or Moorhead Subdivision lines must travel west of the junction, stop and push back into the Dilworth Yards (or south tracks). This blocks rail traffic on the BNSF Mainline and vehicle traffic at several high-volume downtown grade crossings.

Increasing safety and operational concerns reached the point where grade separation of the rail crossings was warranted. The City of Moorhead secured federal funds for developing a project to grade-separate the Southeast Main Avenue, 20th Street, and 21st Street intersection from the BNSF and OTV tracks. The project also investigated constructing a direct easterly connection between the BNSF Mainline and the Moorhead Subdivision/OTV tracks.

SRF performed preliminary and final design, prepared an Environmental Assessment, and completed other project development activities for this complex project. Our services included developing and evaluating alternatives for constructing both roadway and railroad facilities. To provide 50-year flood protection of the underpass, SRF also designed a significant pump station, which used four 150 horsepower pumps and 4,000 feet of 48-inch forcemain with a capacity of 80 cubic feet per second.

SRF also provided construction observation and surveying services for the a pump station, watermain, sanitary sewer, retaining walls, temporary and permanent traffic signals, bridges, and roadway.

City of Moorhead
Moorhead, Minnesota
Bridges and Structures
Construction Administration and Project Delivery
Water and Environment
• 2023 NDSPE Outstanding Design Award
• 2023 ACEC-MN Engineering Excellence Grand Award
• 2023 APWA Public Works Project of the Year in Transportation for Small Cities/Rural Communities
• 2023 FM Engineers Project of the Year Award
• 2022 APWA-MN Public Works Project of the Year
• 2022 CEAM Municipal Project of the Year
• 2022 ARM Association of Minnesota Excellence in Concrete Award – Infrastructure
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