FRA Sending Nearly $14 Million for Ohio Rail Projects

(The Center Square) – Ohio is set to receive nearly $14 million from the federal government for several railroad projects across the state.

The money is part of $320.6 million that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is doling out as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program.

“This $320.6 million federal investment will upgrade U.S. rail infrastructure and enhance rail safety in communities across America,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a statement.

The allocation includes up to $4.5 million for the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) to rehabilitate the Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern Railroad between Lima and Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Workers will install new ballast and ties, convert 10.8 miles of track from jointed rail to continuous welded rail, replace and repair switches and reconstruct yard tracks, increasing speeds in the Lima Yard and on the mainline.

The ORDC will also receive $4.1 million for safety upgrades on the Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railroad between Defiance and Woodburn, Indiana. Workers will upgrade about 10 miles of track with heavier grade rail and replace 29,000 ties on 29 miles of track, boosting the line to FRA Class I track to reduce derailments.

The federal funding also includes $2.2 million for the ORDC for the “Keep Ohio Moving Project” to improve 28 miles of track on four corridors owned by R.J. Corman Group.

The project includes 2.5 miles of the Wooster Branch in Wayne County, a 5-mile portion of the Main Line in Stark County, two sections totaling nine miles of the Spencerville-Elgin Line in Allen County; and 12 miles of the St. Mary’s Line in Mercer County. Workers will install about 20,500 ties and 500 switch ties and resurface 28 miles of rail.

The funding also includes $1.2 million for the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments to construct a system to transport bulk materials from Cincinnati Bulk Terminals’ inland marine port to the Central Railroad of Indiana, in Cincinnati. The project should remove more than 46,000 annual truck trips from an arterial commuter road in Cincinnati between the railyard and the port.

The FRA allocation also sends $1 million to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments to fund the design and construction of improvements at a pair of grade crossings in Cincinnati. The project should prevent trucks with hazardous materials from blocking the track while exiting the terminal.

The allocation also includes $700,050 to the Ohio Rail Development Commission to rehabilitate approximately 25 miles of mainline rail on the Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad between Struthers and Signal. Workers will install more than 10,000 ties, renew switches, tighten bolts and improve grade crossings. The work should increase speeds on seven miles of the line.

Separately, the ORDC approved an $80,000 grant to Huhtamaki to help repair a pair of grade crossings at the company’s facility in New Vienna. The commission also agreed to a $300,000 grant for the Cleveland & Cuyahoga Railway to repair a stone arch culvert.

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