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Rail News: Intermodal

Louisiana DOT lets engineering contract for New Orleans freight-rail modernization


The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) recently awarded a $4.8 million, three-year contract to Michael Baker Jr. Inc. to provide rail/roadway engineering and environmental services for the New Orleans Rail Gateway project.

The project is being developed through a public-private partnership between the Federal Railroad Administration, DOTD, New Orleans Regional Planning Commission, Association of American Railroads and six Class Is: BNSF Railway Co., CN, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. Amtrak, the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Co. and Port of New Orleans also are stakeholders.

The partners plan to modernize the New Orleans metropolitan area’s entire 35-mile freight-rail system, which is considered the nation’s fourth-largest rail gateway.

“This project helps to position Louisiana for future growth by providing increased efficiency in moving goods across our state and nation, and also improves safety for our citizens in this corridor by limiting rail interaction with densely populated areas,” said DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas in a prepared statement.

Michael Baker will provide travel forecasting, rail/roadway engineering, and various environmental and public outreach services required to prepare an environmental impact statement and record of decision for the project.