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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

WisDOT awards funding for five freight-rail projects

Watco's Wisconsin & Southern Railroad has been awarded funding for four projects.
Photo – Watco/Evan Holiday


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) yesterday announced nearly $15 million in grants and loans for five freight-rail projects worth an estimated $24.4 million.

The projects will enhance safety by replacing timber bridges, improving grade crossings and allowing emergency vehicle access, WisDOT officials said in a press release.

Last year, Gov. Tony Evers signed the 2021-23 biennial budget, which provided $20 million for the Wisconsin Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP). Through this investment, WisDOT now is providing $12.7 million in grants through the FRPP and $2.1 million in loans through the Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP). The remaining funding for the five projects will be covered by matching funds from participants.

For fiscal-year 2022, Wisconsin & Southern Railroad (WSOR) has been awarded funding for the following four projects:
• Janesville bridges and track restoration. WSOR has been awarded a grant of up to $2,256,140 and a FRIIP loan of $1,128,070 to rehabilitate five bridges and 1 mile of track in Janesville. The project, which will increase capacity of the bridges to 286,000-pound carloads, is estimated to cost $11.3 million. The Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission, Pecatonica Rail Transit Commission and East Wisconsin Counties Railroad Consortium have all pledged financial support to the project.
• Reedsburg Subdivision track rehabilitation Phase 2. WSOR has been awarded a grant of up to $3,782,400 and a FRIIP loan of $472,800 to rehabilitate 22 miles of track from Waunakee in Dane County to Devil’s Lake in Sauk County. The project will consist of replacing 27,550 ties and reconstructing nine public crossings.
• Prairie Subdivision bridge replacement. WSOR has been awarded a grant of up to $2,995,404 and a FRIIP loan of $374,426 to replace four timber bridges on the Prairie Subdivision in Crawford, Grant, Iowa and Sauk counties. The project bridges will be replaced with new steel trestles at a total cost of $3,744,255.
• Reedsburg Subdivision bridge rehabilitation. WSOR has been awarded a grant of up to $621,376 toward the $773,565 project cost to rehabilitate two bridges located near Lodi in Columbia County.

Also, the city of Madison was awarded a grant of up to $3,068,800, or 80% of the total cost of a project to replace bridge 259 over Troy Drive. The project will enable greater vertical clearance to allow passage of emergency vehicles, WisDOT officials said.

“Modern and efficient freight rail makes our communities safer and our whole transportation infrastructure stronger," said Evers. "This work will mean shorter routes for some emergency vehicles, higher weight limits for some trains and a more modern rail for Wisconsin.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/1/2022