Friday, January 29, 2010

Missouri Captures Millions for High-speed Rail Projects

With the recent addition of a new rail siding at California, Mo., riders of Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner have already been rewarded with much improved on-time performance, but there’s more good news. Missouri captured $31 million in recovery act funds for several high-speed rail projects that will support good jobs and keep the momentum building toward a faster and even more reliable passenger and freight train service.

The recovery act funding will be used for three shovel-ready projects:
• a second rail bridge over the Osage River;
• a universal crossover near the Kirkwood Amtrak station; and
• safety improvements at several rail crossings, primarily west of Sedalia.

It will also fund preliminary engineering on six future improvement projects worth approximately $100 million, including double tracks between Lee’s Summit and Pleasant Hill, a passing siding at Kingsville, a grade separation at Strasburg, a passing siding extension at Knob Noster and universal crossovers – a device that allows trains to crossover to another track in either direction – at Bonnots Mill and Hermann.

Missouri’s success was part of the larger Midwest Regional Rail Initiative’s effort that, as a whole, captured $2.6 billion of the $8 billion in recovery act funds available for high-speed rail corridor improvements.

Tall, Orange and Handsome

Hold onto that steering wheel.

This week, a tall, orange and handsome stranger arrived in Kansas City. Known as Barrel Bob, he began his job this week as a fixture on the kcICON Project, reminding motorists to slow down and take it easy in a work zone.

Barrel Bob won't be a stranger for long -- he has a debut appearance in a PSA about driving safely in the kcICON Corridor. Don't miss it.
Who's behind those barrels? He's the creation of Robert Ohl, a Clarkson Construction employee. Barrel Bob took about 10 hours to build and comes in standard safety gear.