December 9, 2022
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The Federal Railroad Administration recently awarded over $4 million to support three state department of transportation projects in two states; projects aimed at upgrading and safeguarding railroad infrastructure.

[Above photo by the Alaska DOT&PF]

Those funds come through the FRA’s Special Transportation Circumstances program, which provides direct grants to states that lack intercity passenger rail service or that lack direct connection to the national rail network.

FRA’s Amit Bose. Photo by AASHTO.

“This program delivers on our commitment to ensuring diversity in our infrastructure investments by expanding opportunities in rural communities,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose in a statement.

“These directed grants create local jobs, grow local economies, and increase rail safety and efficiency in states where geography and other circumstances create unique need,” he added.

The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities received over $1.4 million to support the Alaska Railroad Corporation or ARRC in replacing a howitzer-based avalanche control method with a Remote Avalanche Control System or RACS above ARRC’s Portage Tunnel Door 4 in Portage Valley, AK, a remote location approximately 50 miles southeast of Anchorage.

The project will build six fixed RACS installations consisting of five hanging charge towers and one launch charge tower, plus one weather monitoring station. These enhancements will allow ARRC to improve the mitigation of avalanche danger within an essential transportation corridor while better protecting railroad employees, railroad passengers, the traveling public, transported goods and materials, and existing transportation infrastructure.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation gets over $1.8 million to help construct two 1,500-foot transload tracks to transport lumber and aggregate, plus a 558-foot industrial lead track and a concrete maintenance pit in an existing locomotive maintenance building, for the Ringneck & Western Railroad.

A second South Dakota DOT rail project is getting $800,000 from the FRA to help improve safety along the Rapid City, Pierre, & Eastern Railroad by upgrading and installing eight culvert structures. That project will help those structures better withstand future flows from the storm water basins at their location.

editor@aashto.org

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