architecture - engineering - construction

Penetron Chosen to Ensure Waterproofing and Durability for Historic Pennsylvania Railway Tunnel


Originally built in 1904, the Allegheny Tunnel in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, was known as an engineering marvel and a crucial improvement to the nation’s railroad system. The tunnel allowed freight to be transported from the bustling ports on the Eastern seaboard to the Allegheny Plateau high above the Chesapeake Bay and beyond to Pittsburgh and the growing markets farther west.

The Allegheny Tunnel is the highest and longest tunnel on the original Pennsylvania Railroad system, measuring approximately 3,605 feet in length, at 2,167 feet above sea level. In 1994, the tunnel was one of the first to be expanded to accommodate two parallel tracks and double-stacked container cars below its arches.

Upgrading for more durability
The construction and design team of LRL Construction Co. and Jacobs Associates specified enhanced waterproofing and freeze thaw resistance for the over 100-year old concrete structure. The wider entrance structures of the tunnel were upgraded with a concrete mixture treated with PENETRON ADMIX, a key ingredient to waterproof the tunnel structure.

“PENETRON ADMIX reacts with water and mineral compounds in the concrete to form insoluble, thread-like crystalline structures that seal pores, capillaries and cracks,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of The PENETRON Group. “In addition, the admixture drastically reduces permeability and the effects of freeze/thaw cycles.”

PENETRON ADMIX was pre-blended by the Quikrete Company into their shotcrete mix, mixed with water on-site, and pneumatically applied – along with additional reinforcing – to the interior of the tunnel entrance. The mix design was placed successfully with minimal rebound and met all targeted set times for the project.

“This project is further validation of Penetron’s effectiveness on shotcrete and older existing concrete applications,” notes Chen. “Just as importantly, we are pleased to have provided a successfully implemented solution for the contractor and tunnel owner."

The PENETRON Group is a leading manufacturer of specialty construction products for concrete waterproofing, concrete repairs and floor preparation systems. The Group operates through a global network, offering support to the design and construction community through its regional offices, representatives and distribution channels.

For more information on PENETRON waterproofing solutions, visit, email [email protected] or contact the Corporate Relations Department at 631-941-9700.

About Penetron International

Penetron International is a leading manufacturer of integral crystalline capillary systems for waterproofing, repairing and protecting concrete. Penetron has been serving the design and construction industry for almost 30 years with sound technical support and performance products engineered to meet the highest manufacturing and environmental standards.

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