Officials with the Delaware Department of Transportation, Amtrak and the state gathered today for a ceremony launching a 1.5 mile addition of rail through the Third Track Construction Project between the Ragan and Brandy Interlockings on the Northeast Corridor in south Wilmington.
The $53 million project will allow for more rail cars to pass easily through the congested corridor and will be an alternative to I-95 for both commuters and businesses.
“Were focused up and down the northeast corridor trying to solve these bottle necks that keep us from running as many trains as we could and meeting the demand for additional commuter service and additional passenger rail,” said Steven Gardener, vice president of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Investment Development. “So every one we knock off is a small victory for us and building toward a higher capacity railroad that we think the region is going to need.”
Senator Tom Carper added that the northeast corridor is vital to business growth and said the additional rail will help the Bloom Energy factory and the University of Delaware STAR campus at the former Chrysler plant.
“What it is, is an incubator in which technologies for high end manufacturing jobs will be planted and grown,” said Carper. “We’re going to have a rail hub there served by Amtrak and served by SEPTA that will help enable people to get there and go to work.”
During the two year construction, the project will put more than 100 people to work and Congressman John Carney stressed the importance of infrastructure projects in the state.
“In the immediate future, it’s a great way to create jobs and put people back to work,” said Carney. “These kinds of infrastructure projects are something that we can do right away to get people back to work and obviously in the long term it moves people from their home to their work and particularity for commuter rail, it’s a way for Delaware to expand its commuter rail system.”
The Third Track Construction Project is scheduled to be completed in 2015.