$200K awarded for repairs to rail line bridge in Clark County

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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$200K awarded for repairs to rail line bridge in Clark County

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A local port authority has been awarded $200,000 by the Ohio Rail Development Commission in order to rehabilitate an old bridge on the Urbana Rail Line.

That money will be used to replace steel components on a frequently used bridge just south of Tremont City Road. The bridge along with 94 miles of rail spanning across Champaign, Clark, Fayette, Logan and Madison counties is owned by the Springfield-based West Central Ohio Port Authority.

That port authority was created by the county commissioners in Champaign, Clark and Fayette Counties over 25 years ago in order to preserve railroad assets and ensure that local rail freight services are able to operate.

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Louis Agresta, the secretary and treasurer of the local port authority, said those rail lines are leased to the Indiana and Ohio Railway company, which provides freight services for companies such as Navistar.

The governmental entity also owns the Glen Echo Yard that is adjacent to Navistar’s Springfield Plant and parts are frequently transported across the bridge.

“If that bridge goes out, it will cut off customers north of Tremont City Road,” Agresta said. The project, which is in the early planning stages, will seek to replace parts of the bridge that have corroded over the years.

Though the bridge is still operational, Agresta said his agency wants to take proactive measures to ensure that the bridge does not get to the point were it needs to be shut down or becomes unsafe.

“We don’t want it to impact our ability to ship freight over the line,” he said.

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The project is estimated to cost roughly $400,000 and is slated to start and be completed next year, said Agresta. He added that money awarded to them by the Ohio Rail Development Commission frees up funding for future maintenance projects.

“This project helps to ensure continued, uninterrupted service to the existing rail customers on the line,” said Matthew Dietrich, the executive director of the commission.

Representatives of the commission said in a news release late last month that one of their goals is to assist companies and communities across the state by creating and retaining jobs by preserving rail services to existing shippers and to new customers.

They added that includes funding projects to improve railroad fixtures as well as crossings to increase safety to those using the rail lines.

“The rehabilitation of the bridge is a long-term investment in Ohio’s infrastructure and helps the community market rail service to potential businesses,” Dietrich added.

The Springfield News-Sun has closely tracked community projects, including those focused on rehabilitating the region’s housing stock and revitalizing downtown Springfield and Urbana.

By the numbers:

$200,000: Money awarded by the Ohio Rail Development Commission to rehabilitate an old bridge on the Urbana Rail Line.

$400,000: Estimated cost of the project by the West Centr

al Ohio Port Authority to replace corroded parts of the bridge.

94: Miles of rail owned by the West Central Ohio Port Authority.

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