The city of Rochelle, Ill., broke ground on a 3.5-mile extension to its rail system on Aug. 10. The project, the city says, has been 12 years in the making.
The $7-million project will consist of an extension of the City of Rochelle Railroad, the construction of a four track rail bridge and double track transloading rail yard.
Rochelle Mayor Chet Olson congratulated the city staff for their commitment to launching the project after such a long period by saying “this project is proof we have some very dedicated people who never quit until the job is done.”
Funding for the project consists of $3.42 million from the Economic Development Administration (EDA), $2.58 million from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and 1 million from the city of Rochelle.
Rochelle City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said in response to the funding for the project, “We are very fortunate to have partners like the EDA and IDOT to advance the infrastructure we need to continue growing our industrial base.”
The project consists of three separate contracts, which will be constructed simultaneously beginning in August. The four-track rail bridge over John’s Creek will be constructed by Martin Excavating of Oregon, Ill., and the three-track rail extension will be built by William Charles of Rockford, Ill. Tom Jorczak, area manager for RailWorks Corporation of Minooka, Ill., will oversee the construction of the double track transloading yard.
The Aug. 10 groundbreaking brought a number of elected officials and dignitaries to Rochelle to celebrate with city officials.
Illinois State Representative Tom Demmer (R-90), who the city points out was a key supporter of the project, said, “Rochelle has found creative ways to leverage its resources to get big things done.”
City of Rochelle Economic Development Director Jason Anderson, who oversees the city’s rail operations summarized the day’s events, “There is no greater sense of accomplishment than when you see people come together to reach a common goal. Today we are creating something that will be a catalyst for industrial development in Rochelle for many years to come.”