The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

September 14, 2013

Rail bridge rebuild key for area economy

(Continued)

Indiana Rail Road lowered the weight moving across it to 263,000 pounds and lowered the speed limit on it to 10 miles per hour. “The standard for the rail business now is 286,000 pounds,” said Powell. “The lower weights are costly to both consumers and our customers.”

The grant will allow Indiana Rail Road to get the bridge rebuilt to meet modern standards. “The total cost exceeded their annual maintenance budget,” said Will Wingfield with the Indiana Department of Transportation. “We were more than happy to support this effort.”

The bridge project is also expected to have an impact on current Daviess County business operations and others that may arrive in the future. Grain Processing is one of the companies that moved more than 23,000 carloads over the bridge last year. “This creates a better climate for moving freight,” said Daviess County Economic Development Director Ron Arnold. “This will build competition for Indiana Rail Road, Southern Indiana Railroad and CSX to move freight. That should help businesses be more competitive and develop more jobs.”

The new bridge is also expected to create more opportunities at Indiana Rail Road’s transload facility that opened earlier this year at Odon just off of I-69. “It allows things to continue moving forward,” said Arnold. “I anticipate that in the next 12 months Indiana Rail Road will execute their plan to expand onto another 7 acres at that site.”

Because the TIGER grant is only for shovel ready projects, Indiana Rail Road is ready to get to work on the bridge quickly. “All of the permitting is done,” said Powell. “We’ll begin construction next month, working pier to pier and it should be finished by late next year.”

The company is also in discussions with the State Historic Society as part of an effort to preserve the old bridge as construction crews dismantle it.

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