BNSF's downtown rail yard occupies an area of Sioux Falls that has been identified as a central location for economic redevelopment by numerous studies, reports and plans focusing on the downtown area. The purpose of the Rail Yard Redevelopment Project is to make the downtown rail yard land available for economic development purposes by removing the yard tracks, while maintaining BNSF's railroad operations, meeting applicable railroad design criteria and safety standards and being feasible from an engineering and logistics standpoint.
In 2001, a feasibility report was developed and in 2002, a conceptual phasing plan identified four key phases to accomplish this project. Phase 1 of the plan has been completed and portions of Phase 4 have been completed. In 2005, Congress authorized funding to complete Phases 2 and 3 of the plan that specifically addresses the removal of the downtown rail yard. The first step to use the funding from Congress is to develop an Environmental Assessment study.
The draft will now go into the public comment phase of the proposed alternative.