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America's Central Port District will complete construction of 4.25 miles of new track throughout the business and industrial campuses in Granite City and Madison, Ill., port officials announced this week.The new track doubles the amount of new rail construction completed by the port over the past 15 years, according to a port press release.Two major rail projects that will be completed this year were designed to increase efficiency and rail throughput, reduce congestion and provide ample capacity to meet future needs, port officials said.One project will provide rail access to a 60-acre development site in the center of the port's campus, as well as direct access to a recently completed 126,000-square-foot advanced chemical processing plant. Also included in the project are the construction of an additional rail spur for future development, and the rehabilitation of Track No. 3, which serves two of six primary warehouses on the port's industrial campus.The new track construction and track rehabilitation were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration and matched with a loan from Madison County Community Development in Illinois.The port's second major rail project this year involves a $2.5 million expansion of the south rail loop, which was built in 2009. More than 15,185 feet of rail will be constructed to add two adjacent tracks, which will make room for additional train capacity.The port is paying for that project through loans."Our new rail construction opens us up to many new markets, and above all, keeps our customers' shipping costs to a minimum," said Bill Stahlman, the port's director of engineering and construction.America's Central Port has access to six Class Is through its connection with the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA). Additionally, the Port Harbor Railroad provides the port with 24-hour local switching and connections to TRRA and the Class I carriers.
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