WILLMAR—The Willmar Wye rail bypass project has completed a big step in the process this week. The Federal Rail Administration and the Federal Highway Administration have signed off on the Finding of No Significant Impact document, which is the last step in the environmental portion of the project, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced Tuesday in a news release.
The impact document is based on the environmental assessment worksheet, which evaluates the need, environmental issues and impact of the project. The worksheet was submitted to the federal agencies in March.
The environmental assessment, the federal impact document and other detailed information on the project can be found at www.mndot.gov/d8/projects/willmarwye/index.html.
The Willmar Wye includes a rail connection between BNSF Railway’s Morris and Marshall subdivisions, which will allow trains to travel between the two tracks without having to go into Willmar and turn around.
The railroad bypass project is a private-public partnership among Willmar, Kandiyohi County, BNSF Railway, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission and MnDOT.
With the environmental work completed, project partners will begin with right-of-way acquisitions, completion of agreements and permits and final design. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018, with completion expected in 2020.
West Central Tribune by Shelby Lindrud