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Norfolk Southern Railway broke ground yesterday on a $70 million project to build a new steel arch railroad bridge in New York's Letchworth State Park.The new single-track bridge will be 900 feet long and located about 75 feet south of the current iron truss bridge, which spans the Genesee River Gorge. Additionally, NS will construct 1,200 feet of new track on either side of the gorge to align existing tracks with the new bridge, NS officials said in a press release.The bridge is expected to take three years to build. When completed, the new structure will be the linchpin of an NS rail line that serves businesses in Buffalo, N.Y., and Southern Tier regions, NS officials said. Among the New York-based entities to benefit from the new bridge will be 10 short line railroads that serve local businesses and connect them to the Norfolk Southern network.The project budget includes $3 million in design costs and $2.5 million in construction costs from the New York Department of Transportation; a $2 million grant from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council; and a $10 million grant from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. NS will contribute the balance. "This successful public-private partnership underscores the strong confidence we all have in the ongoing potential of the Southern Tier," said NS Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires. "Norfolk Southern has a robust bridge program, and the new Portageville Bridge will be a testament to today’s expert engineers and the craftsmanship of today’s railroaders."Construction is slated to begin by year’s end and be completed in three years.To read more about this and other rail bridge projects, follow this link to Progressive Railroading's September feature on the topic.
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