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August 4, 2017

MDOT lands grant to upgrade 22 rail bridges in northern Maine

The U.S. Department of Transportation will award $7.89 million in funding to the Maine Department of Transportation for the Maine Railroad Bridge Capacity project in northeastern Maine.

This funding will be provided through the FASTLANE grant program created by the FAST Act.

The project will repair and upgrade 22 rail bridges on the Madawaska Subdivision of the Maine Northern Railway. Fourteen bridges will require minor repairs, three bridges superstructure replacements and one bridge will be replaced completely.

Following project completion, the 151-mile section will be capable of carrying 286,000 pounds of rail car weight.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, announced the award in a news release on Thursday after learning from U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao that MDOT's application for the grant had been successful.

"This major rail link is used daily by manufacturers and customers across our state, and these improvements will significantly increase capacity and efficiency throughout the corridor," Collins said. "As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Department of Transportation, I worked to ensure that the FASTLANE program was fully funded so it could provide the critically needed resources for transportation projects in Maine and across our country. This funding for the Maine Railroad Bridge Capacity project will help create jobs, improve competitiveness and efficiency and provide an economic boost for the State of Maine."

MDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt described the grant as a "critical piece of funding for the upgrades and improvements of railroad bridges in northern Maine."

"Through this important public/private partnership, operators of railroads will be able to safely increase the loaded weights for railcars over these bridges that will have long lasting, positive impacts on industries in the region," he said.

In December 2016, Collins wrote a letter along with the other members of Maine's congressional delegation to then-U.S. DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx expressing strong support for the MDOT's application.

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