MASSENA — The Massena Terminal Railroad in St. Lawrence County has signed a contract to officially move forward with an improvement project mainly designed to serve the Alcoa plant there.
Most of the project is to be funded with a $1.6 million award the North Country Economic Development Council received in the first round of funding awards.
The Main Line Track and Bridge Rehabilitation project will include significant rail improvements along its main line and yard tracks to safely accommodate unit ore trains for the Alcoa West Plant.
With a total cost of nearly $2 million, the project will see bridges repaired, a new rail, ties and ballast installed and a new switch put in to improve the line’s connection with CSXT.
North Country Chamber of Commerce President and Council Co-Chair Garry Douglas said the importance of rail to the future of the North Country economy is strongly embraced by the regional plan.
“This project will help to support jobs and economic activity in Massena for years to come, while also representing one of several positive actions in the region (that) are serving to implement our aim of preserving and modernizing the North Country’s rail infrastructure,” he said in a press release.
“We commend our Massena area partners for their commitment to this strategically important project.”
Clarkson University President and Council Co-Chair Tony Collins said their plan pursues macro strategies to increase and retain jobs in industries that export products and import dollars, including traditional manufacturing jobs like those at the Alcoa Plant in Massena.
“With the North Country as a gateway to Canada and shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway, strengthening the transportation infrastructure throughout the seven counties that crown New York state builds capacity for jobs and fostering entrepreneurial opportunities in our region and beyond,” he said.
Massena Terminal Railroad Co. Assistant General Manager Chad Mowery said the project is particularly important for the future of the railway and Alcoa.
“The project will solidify our ability to provide access to the North American rail freight network and allow our customers to remain competitive.”
The funding comes from the New York State Department of Transportation. DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said the expansion of rail in Massena is essential to broader business connectivity in the North Country.
“Transportation infrastructure investment projects, such as this, encourage job creation, job retention and growth of the local economy,” she said.