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National Gateway Clearance Project

Project Description

The National Gateway Clearance Initiative is an improvement program to achieve a minimum of 21 feet of vertical clearance along CSX Transportation Inc's (CSX) rail corridor so that double-stacked intermodal railcars can be transported between Mid-Atlantic States and their ports to Midwest markets. Vertical clearance requirements will be met by track lowering, bridge raising, and tunnel modifications. By doing so, the National Gateway initiative will create a highly efficient rail system to connect Midwest producers and consumers with mid-Atlantic ports and world markets. In addition to spurring economic growth throughout the region, successful completion of the project will double intermodal capacity along the existing corridor without increasing noise, emissions, or the number of trains.

The costs associated with this public-private partnership will be covered by a combination of federal, state, and private funds (CSX). Federal Funds will be provided via a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFLHD) is administering the implementation of the TIGER grant on behalf of the U.S. DOT and in collaboration with the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland.

The four states and CSX will utilize this $98 million TIGER grant along Phase I of the rail corridor from the intermodal yard near North Baltimore, Ohio, to the yard at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Within Phase 1, there are 11 tunnels that have clearance deficiencies (existing tunnels that have clearances that cannot accommodate double stack freight rail service). CSX standards for double-stack operation specify a vertical clearance of greater than 21' above the top of rail. In addition to the tunnel work, there are 29 other overhead obstructions that need to be removed or adjusted. These additional obstructions include: 8 bridge replacements; 8 bridge removals; 4 bridge raises; 2 bridge modifications; and 7 track modifications. The current total estimated cost to complete Phase 1 is $188.6 million, including the federal TIGER award for $98 million, $30.5 million committed from the state of Ohio, $35 million committed from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and $25.1 million committed from CSX.

Project Timeline

Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) Evaluation

Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

Memorandum of Agreements (MOA)

The Memorandum of Agreement between FHWA, EFLHD, and the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio was completed on December 17, 2010. This document lays out the roles and responsibilities for the review, oversight and cooperative advancement of the National Gateway Project. FHWA, EFLHD is responsible for the coordination and facilitation of the overall schedule for the entire Project, as well as for the management of the Federal funding. When their involvement is required, the States are responsible to cooperate with EFLHD and the Railroad to the extent necessary for advancing the project.

The Memorandum of Agreement between FHWA, EFLHD, and CSX Transportation, Inc. (Railroad) was completed on December 17, 2010. This document lays out the roles and responsibilities for the Environmental Planning, Design and Construction of the National Gateway Project. This is the basic operating agreement between EFLHD and the Railroad as to how this project is to be completed, relative to both engineering and funding roles and responsibilities.

Location Maps

Grant Agreements

Financial Plan

The FHWA-EFLHD in partnership with CSX Transportation has developed a comprehensive Financial Plan for the Clearance Project in accordance with the requirements of Section 106, Title 23, and the Financial Plan Guidance issued by the Federal Highway Administration. The plan provides detailed cost estimates to complete the project and the estimates of financial resources to be utilized to fully finance the project.

Status Reports / Briefings