Franconia-Springfield Rail Project Receives $100 Million in Federal Funding

(The Center Square) — The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority is set to receive $100 million in federal funding for another transportation project designed to improve travel in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Drivers traveling from Fredericksburg into the district should be enjoying reduced commute times due to the installation of the long-awaited express lanes along the I-95 corridor. Soon, construction will begin on the Franconia-Springfield Bypass. This rail bridge will allow Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express trains to “seamlessly cross over two freight rail tracks, preventing delays and expanding capacity for additional service,” according to a press release from U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine’s office.

“Passenger rail is a vital connector for so many Virginians—carrying people to their work, their families, and their travel plans,” said Kaine and Sen. Mark Warner, who announced the grant for the project. “We’re thrilled to see this funding make rail safer and more efficient for Virginians by addressing a critical chokepoint in a vital location, alleviating congestion for hundreds of Virginians every single day.”

The project is still in it development, but should soon move into its engineering phase, as construction will follow and due to begin in 2024, according to the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority website. Construction is anticipated to be complete in 2026, with one track complete and space for an additional one in the future.

The bypass project will be “carefully coordinated” with the Franconia to Lorton Third Track project, another project of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority which aims to “add approximately six miles of mainline third track from Franconia to Lorton, creating a continuous third track corridor between Alexandria and Lorton.” This project is still in its development phase, according to the VPRA’s website, even though it was slated to end in 2021 and construction was to begin this year.

Funding for the bypass was awarded through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program, supported through the Consolidated Appropriations Acts of 2021 and 2022 and the bipartisan infrastructure law.

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