Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray joined state and local officials today to celebrate the groundbreaking for the historic $20 million project to reconstruct three structurally-deficient rail bridges in New Bedford, funded by the federal stimulus Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant program. This is the first TIGER grant agreement approved by the Federal Railroad Administration that is moving forward and also the first phase of construction that will advance the South Coast Rail project.
"This is an historic moment for New Bedford and the future of freight and passenger rail in the region," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I am pleased that our worthy grant application not only was successful but the first in the nation to be completed, and I wish to thank the FRA for their commitment and cooperation.
"By partnering with our congressional delegation and local officials, our administration continues to make significant progress towards making commuter rail expansion a reality in the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "In addition to the historic agreement with CSX and the recently awarded funding to support design for South Station's expansion, today marks another milestone as we stay on course to enhance freight and passenger rail in the Southcoast region."
The three structurally-deficient freight rail bridges are more than 100 years old allowing maximum train speeds of only 5 miles per hour. Currently, these bridges are only used for freight operations, but the reconstruction of the bridges will also support the South Coast Rail project. By rebuilding the Deane Street, Sawyer Street, and CoggeshallStreetBridges and widening roads below, traffic flow will be improved and freight operations will be enhanced while also supporting future passenger rail for the region. This project represents the first construction that will directly advance the South Coast Rail project. Construction is underway with completion in early 2012.