Deputy Federal Railroad Administrator Karen Hedlund joined Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at a groundbreaking for a new railroad bridge that will eliminate one of the worst rail bottlenecks in the country. The $28 million project received $22.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation's High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program.
Construction on the new railroad bridge across the Osage River will add capacity and reduce delays for more than 600 daily passengers on Amtrak trains traveling between Kansas City and St. Louis and move more than 60 trains through the 283-mile line each day.
"This new bridge will make train travel in Missouri faster and more efficient," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "As part of President Obama's plan to rebuild America, this project is putting Americans to work creating transportation options while reducing congestion and spurring economic development."
The new 1,200-foot bridge, located just east of Jefferson City in Osage City, will unclog a major bottleneck that was caused by partial single tracking in that area. When the bridge is complete, the rail corridor between St. Louis and Jefferson City will consist entirely of two mainline tracks that will allow four Amtrak passenger trains and some 60 freight trains to pass through the area unimpeded.
"The improvements being made to this corridor will provide the people of Missouri with faster, more convenient connections to cities throughout the Midwest and help strengthen the economy throughout the region," said Deputy Administrator Hedlund.
The line is part of the Midwest Regional Rail Network, which is located in one of five densely populated mega-regions — areas already overwhelmed by congestion and in need of better transportation options. Bringing safe, fast, convenient, affordable high-speed rail to these areas will create jobs, increase economic opportunities and relieve congestion.
The Federal Railroad Administration and its 32 state partners are making great progress on High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program projects across the country. With a combined $10.1 billion in funding, they're moving forward with 154 projects, laying the foundation for a 21st century passenger rail network.