Crew Breaks Ground for New Osage River Railroad Bridge

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OSAGE CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon joined federal administrator and other officials from the state of Missouri Thursday to break ground for a new railroad bridge across the Osage River.

The $20 million project will alleviate a bottleneck on the current bridge, where the two railroad tracks merge into one. With the completion of the bridge, the railroad between St. Louis and Jefferson City will have two mainline tracks the entire distance, which will increase the capacity of railroad line.

Ted Kettlewell, the Executive Vice President of OCCI, came down to the riverfront to see the old bridge one last time before construction.

"That will increase the passenger line," said Kettlewell. "As well as the freights can move across without having to do a lot of switching when going down to the single track."

Karen Hedlund, Deputy Administrator from the Federal Railroad Administration, said delays would keep people away from train service.

"You can improve the reliability because the passenger train is not gonna get stuck behind a freight train," Hedlund said.

Nixon said the bridge will help spark new jobs and economic growth in Missouri.

"As important as this bridge will be in moving passengers and freight more efficiently, more safely, it also represents milestones in other areas besides transportation," Nixon said. "This new bridge will help spark new jobs and economic growth in Missouri both during its construction and during many decades we can look forward."

The Osage River railroad bridge is funded under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.