BSNF Railway will reopen an important flooded out track segment across the Missouri River on Sept. 3, five days earlier than planned.
Four of the five bridges in the St. Joseph subdivision have been restored, and work on the fifth bridge is nearly complete, said John Lanigan, the company’s chief marketing officer. Recently, BNSF added $300 million to its 2011 capital budget, partly to raise or rebuild bridges and other flood-disrupted infrastructure.
BNSF’s use of several normally busy sections from Omaha, Neb., to St. Joseph, Mo., has been out most of the summer, as the Missouri reached record flood levels in some areas. That has forced BNSF and other railroads to detour traffic far away from the most direct routes, delaying many shipments.
But Lanigan said in a special customer notice on the BNSF Web site that reopening the St. Joseph subdivision next week “will allow us to start returning rerouted traffic to normal routing.”
The railroads nearby Omaha and Napier track zones will remain out of service until late September or early October, depending on how fast floods recede.
As crews finish work on the fifth bridge, he said, “we are preparing to implement our action plans to improve your service as quickly as possible.”
That will help boost average train velocity across a much broader area as well. “Not only will you see improved service for traffic that returns to the St. Joseph subdivision,” Lanigan said, “but you will also see service improve in those areas that absorbed the rerouted traffic, such as Colorado and Illinois.”