CSX pledges $160m more to expand Virginia Ave. tunnel Posted 05.18.2011
The Washington Examiner (DC)
By Kytja Weir
A century-old train tunnel in the District will be upgraded, after railroad company CSX pledged $160 million on Wednesday to help ease a major bottleneck that currently limits cargo passing through the Washington region.
The money means that the freight shipper can start a long-sought process to expand the Virginia Avenue Tunnel that runs from Second Street to 11th Street just below the Capitol in Southeast. The project will widen and increase the height of the tunnel so trains can carry a double-stacked load of shipping containers. The expanded tunnel also will have a second set of tracks to allow more than one train to pass through the area at a time.
"It creates additional efficiencies," CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said. "It enables you to handle additional cargo without having to add trains."
Most people likely will never notice the tunnel because passenger trains don't use it and it lies in the shadow of the Southeast Freeway near the Navy Yard. But it provides a key link to get cargo in and out of the area.
CSX also says the project will have other benefits as the growing Washington region requires more products -- food, building materials and coal, for example. Every fully loaded double-stacked train carries the equivalent of 280 trucks-worth of cargo, Sullivan said, meaning less congestion on local roadways and less need for additional highways.
The tunnel is part of the multiyear National Gateway project to improve the rail network across the mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Originally, CSX had planned to pay about $393 million of the $850 million initiative, while seeking federal stimulus dollars to supplement other state and federal funds.
But it lost on part of its stimulus funding requests. Now, with Wednesday's pledge of money, the company is paying $575 million of National Gateway costs.
CSX now can begin a federal environmental review process. The company hopes to complete the work by 2015, in time for the expansion of the Panama Canal that will expand the flow of freight to the East Coast, Sullivan said.
The challenge is trying to expand the tunnel while running trains through the area.
It also means potential headaches for the surrounding Capitol Hill neighbors during construction. Residents already have been dealing with construction hassles associated with the rebuilding of the 11th Street Bridge, which has some two years left of construction.
But new D.C. Department of Transportation Director Terry Bellamy said the city plans to work with CSX to minimize the effect of the construction on the neighborhood.
CSX adds $160 million to National Gateway project Posted 05.18.2011
The Associated Press (Online)
Railroad operator CSX Corp. said on Wednesday that it will spend another $160 million on the National Gateway, a rail upgrade project that will allow it to run trains with double-stacked cars to run from the East Coast to the Midwest.
The new money brings CSX's spending plans for the project to $575 million over several years. State and federal aid is expected to bring total spending on the project ...
CSX Funding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, NEPA Process to Begin Posted 05.18.2011
CSX announced today that it will be investing $160 million of its own monies in its National Gateway project, with most of that money going toward the funding of the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, the 107-year-old structure that runs beneath Virginia Avenue from 2nd Street SE to 12th Street SE. With this decision, the company will start moving toward design and construction of the project, first by going through the NEPA ...