The state received the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) III Grant to help increase operating speeds, improve long-term reliability and lower maintenance costs for both freight and passenger service in the area. The 20-mile segment of track and two railroad bridges between Devils Lake and Church's Ferry have been closed several times during the past few years due to the flooding.
In 2009, BNSF began rerouting dozens of freight trains per day around this stretch of track due to the lake's rising waters. Amtrak operates its daily long-distance Empire Builder service along this route, which runs between Chicago and Seattle. The project will raise the track and bridges to help provide relief from flooding in the area, as well as perform other upgrades near Devils Lake needed to ensure the long-term viability of passenger train operations and freight movements along this route.