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The Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad Co. (RBMN) recently won a $10 million state grant to build a new railroad bridge over the Lehigh River near Nesquehoning, Pa.The bridge will provide the regional railroad an efficient and safe north/south route connecting the Philadelphia region to New England and eastern Canada, RBMN officials said in a press release. The railroad plans to offer the use of the route to Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern Railway, both of which already use part of RBMN’s mainline. It will be the fastest and most economical route into the Marcellus Shale in northeast Pennsylvania, and will assist in the development of the Port of Philadelphia, enabling unit trains of double-stack containers to flow in and out of the port while heading to points in the northeastern U.S. and Canada, RBMN officials said. Under the grant’s terms, the state funds will be made available in fiscal years 2014 and 2015, with $5 million released each year. RBMN will cover the remainder of the $14 million project, which will take about 18 months to complete. "I have been working for almost two decades to bring this bridge and resulting new route to fruition. This bridge will enable us to better serve our customers and it will bring economic development and jobs to northeastern Pennsylvania," said RBMN Chief Executive Officer Andrew Muller Jr., who owns the regional. The largest privately owned railroad in Pennsylvania, RBMN operates about 320 miles of track in the eastern part of the state.