CSX Transportation has announced that it has work completed or construction underway at one-third of the clearance projects included in the National Gateway, keeping the major American infrastructure initiative on track for completion by 2015.
The National Gateway is an innovative public-private partnership that will create a double-stack freight rail corridor between Mid Atlantic sea ports and the Midwest.
The improvement projects are designed to increase the vertical clearances at 61 locations on CSX rail lines in the region to accommodate intermodal trains carrying double-stack intermodal containers.
To date, work is complete at five of the locations, and crews are working at 15 other locations.
The progress to date means almost one third of the clearance projects are completed or underway for the National Gateway’s phase one, which spans an existing rail corridor between North Baltimore, Ohio and Chambersburg, Pa.
The projects already completed include bridges in Hyndman and Chartiers Creek, Pa. which were modified for double-stack usage. In Coraopolis, Pa., CSX worked closely with local officials to ensure the safe and efficient removal of an antiquated pedestrian bridge.
At the request of local officials, the aging structure was not replaced. Similarly, CSX worked closely with city officials in Akron, Ohio to remove the previously closed Park Street overpass.
In Niles, Ohio, CSX removed a damaged and antiquated overhead highway bridge and is constructing a new, modern replacement structure.
CSX has begun work on other projects in its phase one of construction, with five tunnel improvement projects underway in Confluence, Pa.; Hansrote, W. Va.; and Magnolia, Md. where tunnel linings are being modified to provide the necessary clearance for passage of modern, double-stacked freight rail containers.
In Ohio, CSX is also raising four highway bridges and lowering the tracks at three others to improve clearances.
Other bridges in Kent and Ravenna, Ohio, and Paw Paw, W. Va. are being replaced with modern, new structures.
CSX recently announced that it will invest an additional $160 million to complete the National Gateway. The investment brings CSX’s planned private investment in the critical infrastructure project to about $575 million over several years.
One of the nation’s largest transportation projects, the National Gateway will create more than 50,000 jobs over a 30 year period by creating a more efficient intermodal network and expanding double-stack capabilities, which increases the amount of freight that can be transported on a single train.
CSX is targeting a 2015 completion date for the project to coincide with the expansion of the Panama Canal, which is expected to bring more traffic through East Coast ports.
“We are pleased to invest in these projects that will improve America’s transportation infrastructure, helping create jobs and cleaner, more efficient freight transportation,” said Louis Renjel, vice president of strategic infrastructure initiatives, CSX Transportation.
“Over the next few years, the National Gateway will move forward aggressively to invest in strategic freight rail infrastructure that will prepare our nation for continued growth and competition in the global economy.”