March Project Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting
The final PAC meeting was held on Monday, March 4. Meeting information
Draft Purpose & Need Statement
The Draft Purpose and Need Statement has been revised to incoprorate public comments received during July outreach, and is currently being reviewed by FRA. Purpose & Need Draft Document (PDF 1.1 MB)
The project schedule has been revised to reflect an extension granted by FRA, and completion is now scheduled for March 2013. Project Schedule (PDF 83 KB)
Final Open House held on March 13
The final open house for the Southeastern Minnesota Freight Rail Capacity Study was held on Wednesday, March 13. Project staff discussed the findings of the Alternatives Analysis Report, which includes benefits and cost of each alternative option. Alternative options include, leaving the existing rail corridor as is, constructing various improvements to the tracks, adding overpasses for roadway traffic or adding overpasses for rail traffic. In addition, officials discussed five alternatives for the rail tracks to bypass downtown Rochester.
Evaluation criteria used on all alternatives include sufficient rail capacity, acceptable traffic conditions, access for emergency vehicles, health, safety, environmental issues and cost.
For more information and meeting materials, visit the Open House page.
On December 16, 2009, Congress directed funds under the Rail Line Relocation and Improvement program for the Southern Rail Corridor project. The Southern Rail Corridor (SRC), also known as the Southeastern Minnesota Freight Rail Capacity Study, is a freight rail relocation project proposed by the Olmsted County Regional Railroad Authority (OCRRA) to evaluate the potential to relocate an existing Canadian Pacific/Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern freight rail line around the City of Rochester, Minnesota to accommodate a potential increase in train traffic and address safety concerns associated with the current route through the city’s downtown. The Southeastern Minnesota Freight Rail Capacity Study is a feasibility and alternative analysis study intended to advance the study of rail traffic impacts in and around Rochester, MN and the reasonable and feasible characteristics of route alternatives through completion of an initial environmental analysis of the alternatives. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) designated the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) as the responsible project lead for the project, and MnDOT is partnering with OCRRA to complete this study.
Project Fact Sheet (PDF 148 KB)
This study has two main tasks:
Detailed scoping of the project will be developed as a first stage of the study process, and will include the development of a Project Management Plan and a Purpose and Need Statement. A full and clear description of methodology and goals will be produced for public review and reference. A Public Involvement Plan will be created during this process which will detail how the project will engage the public. Additionally, a Project Advisory Committee (PAC) and a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will be formed during this time.
2. Feasibility Study and Alternatives Analysis
The intent of the Study is to prepare the initial documentation as the first step in a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)-compliant environmental review process for a project indicated through the analysis conducted in the Study, with guidance from MnDOT and FRA. The resulting documentation may become part of a future environmental assessment.
The feasibility study will identify impacts such as economic development and property values, social impacts, community livability, public safety and health of the following alternatives:
- Analysis of potential future levels of traffic, including commercial trends in rail served industries and proposed passenger rail.
- Analysis of No Build option with and without increased freight and passenger rail traffic.
- Analysis of mitigation of the current route through Rochester with and without increased freight and passenger rail traffic.
- Analysis of proposed Southern Rail Corridor (SRC) alternative.
- Analysis of all reasonable alternative freight bypass route