Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Coos Bay Rail Link receives grant to rehab tunnels

The Coos Bay Rail Line Tunnel Rehabilitation Project will repair and improve tunnel infrastructure on all nine tunnels along the CBR rail corridor. The Coos Bay Rail Line Tunnel Rehabilitation Project will repair and improve tunnel infrastructure on all nine tunnels along the CBR rail corridor.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded the Coos Bay Rail Line $11 million to rehabilitate nine crumbling tunnels along the critical rail link between Eugene and Coquille, Ore.

The grant was awarded through the newly established Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program, which was created to fund projects that will boost economic growth and support the movement freight throughout our transportation system. Coos Bay’s application was one of only 18 selected for funding among a total of 212 submitted from across the nation.

"This is great news for southwest Oregon," noted Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR). "This project will create good, living-wage jobs and spur needed economic development in rural communities that have struggled for decades. All nine of the tunnels along the line are at or near 100 years old and in desperate need of repair or rehabilitation due to deferred maintenance from the previous owners of the line. This funding will greatly improve the safety and reliability of train operations, result in a reduction in emissions and highway congestion as more cargo switches from truck to rail and offer a long-term, low-cost option for shippers. I congratulate the Port of Coos Bay and look forward to continuing our work to improve this critical transportation link and economic engine for the South Coast."

The port's grant application proposed a complete rehabilitation of the tunnels along the Coos Bay Rail Line to bring them up to a good operating condition. The line traverses nine tunnels over an 82-mile section between Coquille and Eugene all of which are 100 years old. The age of these tunnels, combined with the general environment of the Oregon coast and the Coast Range Mountains, have cause deterioration and drainage issues in the tunnels and on the track. Safety concerns over tunnel conditions were cited as the primary reason the line was shut down in 2007.

 

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