Osage City, Mo., November 25, 2013 Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo, along with representatives of the Missouri Department of Transportation, Union Pacific Railroad, Amtrak and contractor OCCI, Inc. today officially opened a new $28 million 1,200-foot railroad bridge across the Osage River - ahead of schedule and under budget. The new bridge adds capacity and targets continued improvement of on-time performance for freight trains and the Amtrak® Missouri River Runner trains between Kansas City and St. Louis, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
The new bridge, located just east of Jefferson City in Osage City, Mo., removes a major bottleneck that was caused when two tracks would funnel to one to cross the Osage River on a single-track railroad bridge, and then connect back to a double main line track. With the completion of the railroad bridge over the Osage River, the rail corridor between St. Louis and Jefferson City now consists entirely of two main line tracks.
"This new railroad bridge is yet another strategic investment in our rail infrastructure that will allow for higher performing passenger rail - while also laying a foundation to invest in faster, more frequent and even more reliable service," said Administrator Szabo. "It also advances the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative - a vision Missouri shares with eight other states to connect the Midwest's 40 largest cities with high-performance passenger rail."
"The project eliminates the last bottleneck on the eastern portion of our St. Louis to Kansas City corridor which will benefit those riding the Missouri River Runner trains as well as Union Pacific customers," said Donna Kush, Union Pacific vice president - Public Affairs, Northern Region. "The Missouri Department of Transportation has been a great partner. We look forward to exploring additional opportunities with them that benefit the public and our customers, allowing us to haul America's goods by the most environmentally friendly mode of ground transportation."
"We're pleased to complete this new bridge ahead of schedule and under budget," said MoDOT Director Dave Nichols. "This project proves that working together, we can deliver needed transportation projects that create jobs, improve safety and foster economic growth. Missourians have told us they want more transportation options, and better connectivity between our different modes of transportation. With limited transportation funding, however, difficult choices will need to be made if we are to be able to deliver projects like this one in the future."
"Our partnership with the state of Missouri dates back to 1979 and is stronger than ever, with ridership growing and good on-time performance," said Derrick James, Director, Amtrak Government Affairs. "We'll sit down with MoDOT and Union Pacific and look at more ways to further improve the Missouri River Runner service with the new bridge now open over the Osage River."
MoDOT commissioned a study by the University of Missouri to determine where rail line capacity enhancements should be made to improve train velocity. The Mizzou study helped MoDOT and Union Pacific's engineering and network planning groups make solid choices where capacity projects should be considered across the 275-mile rail corridor.
The new bridge enables all trains that use the corridor to operate more efficiently. According to MoDOT, 90 percent of the Missouri River Runner trains arrived on-time or ahead of schedule in fiscal year 2013. These same passenger trains were operating an average of 64 percent on-time in 2008. Subsequently, ridership has increased for six consecutive years to nearly 200,000 passengers.
MoDOT received a multimillion dollar award under the Recovery Act, which funded a majority of this project. Union Pacific provided the remainder of the project cost. The bridge was constructed by OCCI, Inc., from Fulton, Mo. These and other improvements, directly linked to capital investments made by Union Pacific, the Missouri General Assembly and the federal government, continue to add capacity, improve on-time performance and increase the efficient movement of goods along the corridor.
About the Missouri Department of Transportation
The mission of MoDOT is to provide a world-class transportation experience that delights our customers and promotes a prosperous Missouri. For more information, visit www.modot.org or call 888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636) within Missouri.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP). One of America's most recognized companies, Union Pacific Railroad links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing a critical link in the global supply chain. From 2007-2012, Union Pacific invested $18 billion in its network and operations to support America's transportation infrastructure, including a record $3.7 billion in 2012. The railroad's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Coal, Industrial Products and Intermodal. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers, operates from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways. Union Pacific provides value to its roughly 10,000 customers by delivering products in a safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible manner.
Amtrak is America's Railroad®, the nation's intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2013, a record 31.6 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains - at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) - that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at blog.amtrak.com.
Contacts Sally Oxenhandler, MoDOT, 573-522-3375
Mark Davis, Union Pacific Railroad, 402-544-5459
Marc Magliari, Amtrak, 312-544-539
Michael England, Federal Railroad Administration, 202-493-6444
Osage River Bridge
At center, holding railroad spike mauls, are Donna Kush, Union Pacific vice president Public Affairs - Northern Region, and Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo.
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