Kandiyohi County was successful in obtaining $4.8 million in federal funding to help fund the completion of the County State Aid Highway 55 Highway-Rail Grade Separation project south of Willmar. The Kandiyohi County Road 55 highway-rail grade separation project would see an overpass bridge constructed over the rail tracks, eliminating a potentially dangerous conflict point between trains and vehicles.
WILLMAR — When Kandiyohi County Public Works Director Mel Odens first got the email Monday morning about the Federal Rail Administration grant the county had applied for last fall to partially fund the County State Aid Highway 55 Highway-Rail Grade Separation project, he wasn’t optimistic. Odens and the county have tried unsuccessfully for several years to get state bonding funds to help with the project to no avail.
“We were 0 for 6,” Odens said at Tuesday’s Kandiyohi County Board meeting.
However, when Odens opened the email, the first word was “Congratulations” and Odens could barely believe it. Kandiyohi County was awarded $4.8 million from the FRA Railroad Crossing Elimination program. The funds will help finish a project that will improve traffic safety and movement at the complicated intersection of Minnesota Highway 23 and CSAH 55, 15 and 5.
“It is almost surreal for me,” Odens said, after so many years of grant requests and denials.
The project, with an estimated total price tag of $11.88 million, includes the construction of a bridge over the BNSF Railways line that currently crosses CSAH 55 at-grade, meaning vehicles and trains are on the same level and could come into conflict with each other. With the proposed bridge, traffic will travel over the tracks, eliminating any risk of trains hitting vehicles or pedestrians.
Read the full article here