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Senators and congressmen from four states this week announced the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded millions of dollars in fiscal-year 2020 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grants to railroads in their states.
U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) announced in a press release a $13.67 million CRISI grant was issued to a project to install over 70 miles of rail and other infrastructure upgrades on the Buckingham Branch Railroad North Mountain Subdivision line between Charlottesville and Clifton Forge, Virginia.
Specifically, the grant will be used to pay for the upgrade of 70 miles of rail and associated ballast, upgrades to 14 grade crossings and five bridges, the construction of new drain systems in the Afton tunnel liner to reduce ice buildup, and the improvement of clearances in two additional tunnels on the Buckingham Branch rail line.
In North Carolina, U.S. Reps. Richard Hudson and Dan Bishop (both R-N.C.) and U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr (both R-N.C.) announced in a press release a $13.1 million CRISI grant award to the Aberdeen, Carolina & Western Railway in the state's south-central region. The funds will help pay for a project to rehabilitate three bridges, construct two new sidings, install 83,500 new ties, replace rail along 6 miles of track, and construct two storage and two switching yards.
Meanwhile, in Mississippi, U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith (both R-Miss.) announced in a press release the award of a $6.2 million CRISI grant to Grenada Railroad LLC to complete the final phase of a project to refurbish a rail line between Canton, Miss., and Memphis, Tennessee.
The project will rehabilitate the remaining segment of the rail line from Grenada to Memphis, including upgrading 25 bridges, replacing 88 miles of ties, installing ties in 84 curves, and improving 11 bridges and track conditions on the Water Valley Spur Line. The project also calls for repairing three tracks in the Durant rail yard and constructing a locomotive pit.
Once completed, the project will restore full speed service on the line, improving safety, transit times and congestion issues that arise from reduced speeds.
And in Washington, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced in a press release a $3.7 million CRISI grant issued to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to implement critical landslide mitigation measures along the Pacific Northwest rail corridor.
The funding will go toward the third phase of WSDOT's Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor Reliability-Landslide Mitigation Program. Landslides along the coastal bluffs north of Seattle have disrupted passenger- and freight-rail service for years. The program's third phase will serve a busy section of the rail corridor south of Mukilteo that has a history of slides leading to rail line closures.