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Virginia rail agency to analyze freight-rail capacity along Interstate 81


The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) soon will begin conducting the “I-81 Freight Rail Study” to determine ways to maximize freight-rail capacity along a 325-mile interstate corridor.

To be conducted in conjunction with the state’s Multimodal Planning Office, the study will analyze scenarios for diverting freight to rail, identify needed rail infrastructure improvements and determine roles other states along Interstate 81 can play to boost freight-rail capacity throughout the corridor. The study will be completed in summer 2007.

Norfolk Southern Corp. will provide consulting and staff support services to DRPT through a public-private partnership.

The study is part of a comprehensive I-81 improvement plan under consideration by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). The plan calls for improving freight-rail infrastructure, adding truck climbing lanes, building longer on- and off-ramps at interchanges, and implementing technology to manage highway traffic.

“It’s appropriate for us to have both long- and short-term strategies to address conditions on I-81 [and] rail is part of the solution,” said Pierce Homer, Virginia’s secretary of transportation and the CTB’s chairman, in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/22/2006