The Missouri Department of Transportation, Union Pacific Railroad, Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration have signed a service agreement that will allow work to begin on Missouri's first rail infrastructure project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The signing follows extensive negotiations between Gov. Jay Nixon's Office, MoDOT, Union Pacific and several agencies including the Federal Railroad Administration.
"This is a critical project that will alleviate congestion along a vital trade and passenger transportation artery," Gov. Nixon said. "Once the bridge is in operation, the rail corridor across Missouri will become even more important for our state and the entire country."
The $28.3 million project consists of the construction of a second rail bridge over the Osage River that will eliminate the last single track portion between Jefferson City and St. Louis. It will also remove the last single track bottleneck to cause delays for freight and Amtrak trains on the eastern segment of the St. Louis to Kansas City corridor.
"We are excited to move forward with this project," said MoDOT Multimodal Operations Director Michelle Teel. "During the construction phase it will spur economic activity and support jobs. Once complete, Missouri will enjoy the long-term benefits of having an even more reliable passenger rail service and a larger capacity for delivering freight."
"We identified rail capacity improvements on the Kansas City to St. Louis corridor during a study several years ago. Now, together we're moving another step closer in tackling a bottleneck to rail traffic crossing Missouri we identified in that study" said Ben Jones, Union Pacific's director - public affairs for Missouri and Kansas. "The completion of the second main line bridge over the Osage River, coupled with Union Pacific's more than $400 million investment since 1999 in track capacity and maintenance projects, will increase velocity on the corridor and continue to improve Amtrak's on-time performance."
MoDOT anticipates beginning construction in the fall, but prolonged flooding could push the start date into the spring.
Union Pacific and MoDOT have agreed to further study the St. Louis to Kansas City rail corridor as funding becomes available.