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Millions coming for Carbon rail bridge projects

Published August 15. 2014 02:49PM

A total of $5.7 million is headed to Carbon County to help pay for two railroad bridge projects.

Details were sketchy as of late Friday, but according to a news release issued by the state Department of Transportation, a rail bridge over the Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe proposed by Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad will receive $5 million, and bridge repairs by the Horsehead Corp. Palmerton will receive $700,000.

Efforts to reach officials from both companies were unsuccessful, as were efforts to reach PennDOT spokesman Ron Young for additional information.

The Reading Blue Mountain project calls for construction of a new bridge over the river and 1,200 feet of connecting track. The Horsehead project calls for bridge repairs including pier support, tie replacement and approach rail work.

The projects are among 39 rail freight improvement plans approved for funding from two PennDOT managed programs.

The State Transportation Commission voted Thursday to approve nearly $35.9 million for 13 projects through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and 26 projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP). RTAP is a capital budget grant program funded with bonds and RFAP is underwritten through the new Multimodal Fund, created by Act 89, the new transportation funding law passed last year.

In the press release Gov. Tom Corbett said the projects would create nearly 34,000 jobs.

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