A $1.5 million state loan will help the Cedar Rapids-based Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Co. replace one of three bridges over the Iowa River near the Amana Colonies.
CRANDIC Railway Chief Operating Officer Joe McGovern said funding will go to the $2.84 million project to replace the bridge over the northern overflow channel of the Iowa River. The new bridge will be about five feet higher and about three times as long as the current bridge to withstand flood conditions.
The railroad received a $2 million state loan last year to assist with replacement of the main channel bridge and a bridge over the Iowa River’s south overflow channel.
The rail line is a critical supply route for ethanol shipments going out of the Archer Daniels Midland plant in Cedar Rapids, as well as grain shipments and other shipments into Cedar Rapids, one of the nation’s largest corn milling centers.
McGovern said the railroad expects to begin receiving required permits in December and to begin construction of the three bridges in January or February of 2013. Completion is expected in October 2013.
The existing bridges were restored after record flooding forced a temporary closure of them in June 2008, but they were never built to withstand the current freight tonnages moving across them, McGovern said.
The loan was approved Tuesday by the Iowa Transportation Commission under its Railroad Revolving Grant and Loan program. It is for a 10-year term at zero percent interest.
McGovern said CRANDIC is happy that the state is willing to support the company’s continued investment in improving the state’s rail infrastructure.
“Now that we have that information, we will look at finalizing the design and purchasing more materials,” McGovern said.