Joliet Bulk Barge & Rail

Ragnar Benson Rail Group was contracted to provide design assist / build for a crude oil unloading facility in Joliet IL for Joliet Bulk Barge and Rail. This project was one of the largest privately funded projects in the State of Illinois beginning in June of 2014. Joliet Bulk Barge and Rail was the client and needed the design and construction of this unique project on a condensed schedule. By April of 2014, the Ragnar Benson team built a Transload Rail Facility that transfers crude oil originating from Canada to the Exxon Mobil refinery in Joliet, IL. Mobil engineers shared that they would take two years to completely design a similar facility. The challenge was to take a 300 acre farm in Joliet, IL and build/design a facility in less than ten months.

Work began on June 1st running 16 scrapers, 10 hours a day for almost three months and moved 1.8 million yards of earth. Site utilities included 25,000 feet of storm pipe, 10,000 feet of drain tile, 200 structures, 8,000 feet of water main pipe, 35 fire hydrants, 30 valves, 4,600 feet of sanitary force main and 2 pump stations. With a dry summer we got a head start on the two 1870’ pipe trenches that hold the 36” crude oil piping as well as the two 139’ diameter, 60’ tall crude oil storage tanks.

With the landscape taking shape in August, availability to design drawings lead to over 50 bid packages and ended with more than 1000 construction drawings. The challenge for the contractors and superintendents was to build from less than complete drawings and absorb the daily updates from five different engineering companies while keeping their eye on the schedule.

Long lead items such as electrical gear, transfer pumps, gate valves and galvanized rack began to hit their delivery dates as contractors coordinated receipt and installation. The team worked with ownership and the City of Joliet to finalize permitting well into construction as this complex a project did not fit the norm for the building department.

By fall, the 4.2 mile pipeline connecting the facility to the Mobil Joliet (MOJO) Pipeline was in full swing. The MEP bidding brought together a team of two electricians, three insulators and four mechanical contractors building different parts of this immense project. Besides relocating a high voltage transmission line and installing a new substation, electrical contractors installed 9000’ of cable tray, 200,000’ of cable, and over 600 explosion proof light fixtures.

A custom galvanized rack system runs over the trench to provide platform access to the 120 oil cars. It also hold wiring and piping for venting, steam heating and off-loading the Canadian crude. Piping exceeded 10,000’ of 4” thru 36” including crude, hot oil, vent and steam. Measuring the product is three metering and one prover skids located in the middle of the pipe yard.

The Rail Siding portion of the project connected the main CN line with the facility and included two bridges and the cooperation of several adjacent land owners. In all, over 50,000’ of track was installed on three bridges and one tunnel.

The facility is managed from a 5,000 SF administration building and a 15,000 SF boiler building. When running, the over 5,000’ of crude piping is heated with 24,000’ of hot oil piping and tubing. It connects the 120 unloading stations to the two, 150,000 barrel storage tanks. When the owner decides to sell, the crude is pumped out of the tanks through the 4.2 mile pipeline to the MOJO.

A special sense of accomplishment was realized as the first 99 oil cars arrived on 4/22 and slowly traveled over the three bridges and one tunnel, successfully on its way to the four lanes of unloading positions.