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Construction has begun on a rail connector and industrial access project involving BNSF Railway Co. in Willmar, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) reported last week.Known as Willmar Wye, the project is a public-private partnership between BNSF, MnDOT, Kandiyohi County and the city of Willmar to build a new rail line bypass on the city's west side.The project includes the realignment of Highway 12 and the reconstruction of Highway 40, including two new bridges. It will create a direct connection for BNSF traffic between two existing main track subdivisions, the Morris subdivision and the Marshall subdivision, according to MnDOT's project update.Those subdivisions serve local, regional and national rail customers in northwest, Midwest and southern states.Road construction began in July and is expected to wrap up in fall 2021. Rail construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2021 and end in fall 2022.As of last week, work crews began placing storm sewer pipes in the roundabout at U.S. 12 and Country Road 5. They continued constructing bridge approach embankments on highways 12 and 40 and County Road 55. The Hawk Creek diversion channel is begin dug to facilitate the placement of a box culvert under Highway 40, MnDOT officials said.The contractor team's major participants are Hoffman Construction Co., Lunda Construction Co. and Bolton & Menck Inc.