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MDOT awarded federal grant to replace Manistee River railroad bridge

LANSING, Mich. – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced this week that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) was awarded up to $20 million to replace a railroad bridge over the Manistee River north of Manton. The funding comes from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.

"MDOT is pleased to be awarded this CRISI grant to replace the Manistee River railroad bridge that is well past its useful life," said State Transportation Director Bradley C. Wieferich, P.E. "Replacing this structure will ensure today's heavier freight railroad cars will be able to cross the bridge and that there will be no disruptions to northern Michigan supply chains."

The project involves final design and construction activities to replace the Manistee River railroad bridge, which has many components that are in poor or critical condition. By improving service performance and the ability to meet demands, it will help restore railroad timetable speeds, increase the load rating of the structure to allow 286,000-pound railcars, and preserve rail service to commodity shippers in the northwestern Lower Peninsula.

Located on state-owned railroad that is leased to Great Lakes Central Railroad (GLC), the total project estimated cost is $34 million, with the FRA contributing $20 million, MDOT contributing $13 million, and GLC contributing $750,000. Depending on when grants are obligated to MDOT, the project is estimated to begin in 2025 and be completed in 2027.

"Replacing the Manistee River railroad bridge will lower the cost of shipping goods and materials in Michigan by rail, which is critical because rail freight is one of the most fuel-efficient ways to move goods and materials over land," said Michigan Chief Infrastructure Officer Zachary Kolodin. "This grant builds on Michigan's incredible momentum implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The state has now won three awards for rail infrastructure, totaling nearly $45 million in investment, and over $7.4 billion overall from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law."

A full list of CRISI project selections can be found on the FRA website.

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