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OBPA seeking state grant for railroad

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The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority is seeking a state grant for $3 million in upgrades to two of its New York and Ogdensburg Railway’s bridges.

The OBPA board decided last week to apply for $3 million from the state Department of Transportation to pay for bridge improvements to the 30-mile freight line running from Ogdensburg to Norfolk.

“The resolution regarding funding and DOT is important as the Bridge and Port Authority is pursuing $3 million needed for the Raquette and Grasse rivers rail bridge rehabilitation,” said OBPA Executive Director Wade A. Davis. “Weight restrictions remain on the two rail bridges despite the upgrade to the track.”

The Grasse River crossing is in Madrid, and the Raquette River crossing is in Norwood.

Strengthening the two bridges, Mr. Davis said Monday, will enable the maximum per-car weight to increase from 240,000 pounds to 286,000 pounds.

“The bridges are safe,” he said. “It’s just the reduced weight.”

More freight business for the rail line will follow once the bridges are strengthened, Mr. Davis said.

“Obtaining funding to rehabilitate the bridges is important because once repaired, customers will be able to take full advantage of the capability of the rail line,” he said.

The OBPA’s short line railroad is operated by Vermont Rail Systems, serving the port of Ogdensburg with a connection to the CSX rail network.

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