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The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) late last week announced it would provide more than $16 million in grants or loans to help fund eight freight-rail projects.The grants will be provided through WisDOT’s Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP) while loans will be issued through the state’s Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP).Watco Cos. LLC’s Wisconsin & Southern Railroad (WSOR) will receive FRPP grants totaling $11.57 million and FRIPP loans totaling $1.44 million for six projects. WSOR will provide $1.44 million in matching funds.The work includes the replacement of 7.5 miles of 90-pound jointed rail with 115-pound continuous-welded rail (CWR) between Ripon and Pickett; replacement of 15.2 miles of 90-pound rail with 115-pound CWR between Milton and Whitewater; replacement of two bridges in WSOR’s Fox Lake Subdivision and two bridges in its Prairie Subdivision; replacement of a bridge with a culvert in the Oshkosh Subdivision; and the rehabilitation of a steel deck on a bridge in the Plymouth Subdivision.Meanwhile, Port Milwaukee will receive a $3 million FRPP grant to rehabilitate and construct track. The work includes the installation of 16,000 linear feet of new 115-pound rail and 13 turnouts in the port’s heavy lift dock and west classification yard on Jones Island. The project will enable the port — which will provide $748,480 in local matching funds — to resume intermodal shipping, WisDOT officials said in a press release.In addition, Quality Propane of Chippewa Falls will received a $600,000 FRIIP loan to install three 90,000-gallon propane tanks at its existing rail terminal, which is served by Progressive Rail Inc.’s Wisconsin Northern Railroad. The project is estimated to cost $961,237.FRPP grants cover up to 80 percent of project costs to help preserve freight-rail service or rehabilitate track on publicly-supported rail lines. A revolving loan program, the FRIIP helps improve rail infrastructure and construct new rail-served facilities in the state, WisDOT officials said.