Culminating a dozen years of planning, the City of Rochelle, Ill., broke ground on a $7 million expansion of the City of Rochelle Railroad.
The project includes a 3.5-mile extension of the rail system, along with construction of a four-track bridge and double-track transloading yard.
“[T]his project is proof we have some very dedicated people who never quit until the job is done,” said Rochelle Mayor Chet Olson at the August 10 ceremony.
The project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce: Economic Development Administration ($3.42 million); the Illinois Department of Transportation ($2.58 million), and the City of Rochelle ($1 million).
Rochelle City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said, “We are very fortunate to have partners like the EDA and IDOT to advance the infrastructure we need to continue growing our industrial base”.
The project consists of three separate contracts that will be constructed simultaneously beginning in August. The four-track rail bridge over John’s Creek will be constructed by Martin Excavating of Oregon, Ill., and the three-track extension will be built by William Charles of Rockford, Ill. Tom Jorczak, area manager for RailWorks of Minooka, Ill., will oversee the construction of the double track Transloading Yard.
“There is no greater sense of accomplishment than when you see people come together to reach a common goal,” said Jason Anderson, Rochelle’s Economic Development Director who oversees the city’s rail operations. “Today we are creating something that will be a catalyst for industrial development in Rochelle for many years to come.”
The municipally-owned City of Rochelle Rail System was founded In 1986 and connects local industries with Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe. It currently serves 14 industries and has created more than 1,200 jobs over the past three decades.