Colorado to study feasibility of Denver bypass for BNSF, UP trains (7/9/2003)


Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is seeking a consultant to analyze benefits and costs tied to improving rail infrastructure and relocating track around Denver, according to a recent news item on Burlington Northern Santa Fe's Web site.

The study will determine the feasibility of building a bypass route for BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad trains around central Denver while maintaining local tracks for metro-area shippers.

CDOT is funding the six-month, $500,000 study, which is expected to begin in October.

"This assessment will help guide the department on how to proceed with the best possible transportation plan for Colorado," said CDOT Executive Director Tom Norton.

Relocating the freight-rail lines would enable Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) to buy or lease the existing lines, or build track along the rights of way as part of a plan to develop a statewide commuter-rail system between Fort Collins and Pueblo.

In November 2004, RTD plans to seek voter approval to raise the sales tax from 0.6 percent to 1 percent, enabling the transportation district to obtain the rights of way and fund light-rail construction.

For about two years, RTD, BNSF and UP officials have been discussing options for diverting freight trains around Denver. By avoiding the city, freight trains could operate more safely and at higher speeds, BNSF and UP officials believe.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News