NORTH KINGSTOWN — Over the past 15 years, rail car volume at Quonset Business Park has nearly tripled. To support this increased traffic, state officials will break ground Friday morning on a $4 million project to expand the rail system.
The Mill Creek Rail Yard project will add 5,700 linear feet of track and six turnouts to the park, providing storage for up to 58 rail cars.
An average of 5,000 rail cars are coming through the park each year, according to Steven King, managing director of Quonset Development Corporation. A current lack of storage areas creates congestion on the park’s rail lines, and the expansion “will provide a lot more capacity to operate the railroad in the business park,” King said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded QDC its grant funding in 2018, and QDC contributed a $1 million match.
Much of the increase in traffic since 2007 ties back to statewide efforts to support freight rail, King said, such as the state’s Freight Rail Improvement Project. The project, which was completed in 2006, added 17 miles of dedicated, new or rehabilitated freight track between Central Falls and North Kingstown and five miles of rehabilitated electrified rail lines for shared use.
Quonset hosts more than 12,000 workers across over 200 businesses. The new railyard will serve as “another cog in the wheel towards keeping the infrastructure here first class,” King said.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline will join King at the groundbreaking ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m. within the park.
The project is slated to be completed in summer 2022.
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