WAUKESHA — The
Wisconsin Department of Transportation has received $3 million in
grant money to improve safety on a 10-mile section of the Canadian
Pacific Railway line — starting in Hartland and ending just past
Pewaukee — used heavily by oil trains.
Senator Tammy Baldwin announced Thursday WisDOT will receive the
funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve rail
safety and security in Waukesha County.
supervisor of railroad engineering and safety for WisDOT, said the
federal government offered about $10 million nationwide last fall
during an eight-week application window. The Wis-DOT project claimed
nearly a third of the funding. The state of Wisconsin is providing
$750,000 in matching funds.
The grant will
pay for improvements along the corridor including crossing upgrades,
medians and a more technologically up-to-date track monitoring
system called “constant warning time circuitry” that makes gate
crossings more efficient and safe.
The line sees
heavy traffic. An average of 23 freight trains per day operate over
it carrying ethanol and crude oil, including seven to ten carrying
Bakken crude oil from North Dakota. It also carries two Amtrak
passenger trains per day.
“It makes sense
in so many ways,” said Morrison of the project’s location.
will build on work already done toward Oconomowoc and will allow
communities to apply for “quiet zones” in their communities, which
Morrison said he has been working to accomplish for years.
The line is
designated a high-speed rail line that could in the future see 14
trains per day operating at 110 miles per hour.
2015, two trains derailed and spilled chemicals in Wisconsin. One in
Alma — near La Crosse — spilled about 20,000 gallons of ethanol into
the Mississippi River.
A week later, 13
cars on a Canadian Pacific Railway train filled with crude oil
derailed in Watertown. One car was punctured and spilled between 300
and 500 gallons of crude oil. An adjoining neighborhood was
evacuated as a precaution. Just days later, five cars derailed 400
D-Madison, visited Watertown at the time to emphasize the need for
improvements in railroad safety.
communities along Wisconsin’s railways remains my top priority as
we’ve seen an increase of this volatile oil being carried throughout
the Badger State,” Baldwin said in a press release.
The project will
begin in 2018, Morrison said.