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Project Profiles

Heartland Corridor

Location

Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio

Project Sponsor / Borrower

FHWA Eastern Federal Lands Division
(for the Heartland Central Corridor Double Stack Clearance Project only)

Program Areas

Non-Road Pricing Revenue

Mode

Intermodal / Freight

Description

Due to Norfolk Southern's rail network, the Port of Virginia (Newport News) has always had good rail access to the Midwest markets. The Heartland Corridor project makes the most direct rail route to the major markets of Columbus and Chicago accessible to double-stack container trains, shortening the trip to Chicago, for example, by over 200 miles by obviating the need to travel via Harrisburg and then west or to Knoxville and then north.

Extending through Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, the Heartland Corridor consists of series of five separate intermodal projects designed to improve mobility and increase freight capacity. They include:

  • Central Corridor Double-Stack Clearance Project - the core of the Corridor - involves heightening clearances in 28 tunnels and associated obstructions throughout Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky enabling double-stack rail operations between Roanoke, VA and Columbus, OH
  • A new intermodal facility in Prichard, WV
  • A new intermodal facility in the Roanoke region of Virginia
  • New state-of-the-art mega-intermodal facility at the former Rickenbacker Airport in Columbus, OH (now controlled by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority)
  • Relocation of the Commonwealth Railway into the median of the Western Freeway in Portsmouth, VA, connecting to the new APM Terminal that opened in July 2007 and the future 4th marine terminal for the Virginia Port Authority
  • The Heartland Corridor was also extended west to include Norfolk Southern's Columbus to Cincinnati line with aid from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act

Cost

Total: $397 million

Heartland Central Corridor Double-Stack Clearance Project: $191 million (Extensions to Cincinnati: $6.1 million)

Separate but complementary projects not involving FHWA include:

  • New terminal in Prichard, WV: $35 million
  • New terminal in the Roanoke region, VA: $35 million
  • New terminal in Columbus, OH at the former Rickenbacker AFB: $70 million
  • Western Freeway Rail Relocation project: $60 million

Funding Sources

Heartland Central Corridor Double-Stack Clearance Project

  • Federal SAFETEA-LU funds - $83.3 million
  • Virginia Rail Enhancement Fund - $9 million
  • Ohio Rail Development Commission grant - $0.8 million
  • Norfolk Southern Railroad - $97.9 million

Extension to Cincinnati

  • Federal ARRA funds - $3.6 million
  • Norfolk Southern Railroad - $2.5 million

Prichard Intermodal Facility

  • USDOT TIGER III award - $12 million

Roanoke Region Intermodal Facility

  • Virginia Rail Enhancement Fund - $12.6 million
  • Norfolk Southern Railroad - $5.4 million

Rickenbacker Intermodal Terminal

  • Federal SAFETEA-LU funds - $27.7 million
  • Norfolk Southern Railroad - $42.3 million

Commonwealth Railway Relocation

  • Federal SAFETEA-LU funds - $15 million
  • DRPT Rail Enhancement Funds (Fiscal Year 07) - $4.8 million
  • DRPT Rail Enhancement Funds (Fiscal Year 08 & 09) - $21.0 million
  • Governor's Transportation Funds - $5.0 million
  • Commonwealth Match of Federal Funds - $3.75 million
  • Commonwealth Railway, Inc. 30% match of DRPT funds

Project Delivery / Contract Method

Heartland Central Corridor Double-Stack Clearance Project: Design-Bid-Build

Commonwealth Railway Relocation: Design-Build

Private Partner

Design-builder (Commonwealth Railway Relocation): Commonwealth Railway, Inc/Moffatt and Nichol/Branscome, Inc. (awarded July 1, 2006)

Equity partner: Norfolk Southern Railroad

Project Advisors / Consultants

Tunnel enlargements: Johnson Western Gunite, LRL Construction, RJ

Corman Railroad Construction

Prime Design Consultant: Hatch Mott MacDonald

Construction Management: STV

Lenders

Not applicable

Duration / Status

  • Central Corridor Double-Stack Clearance Project became operational in September 2010
  • Prichard Intermodal Facility: construction to start fall 2012; expected completion early 2014
  • Rickenbacker Intermodal Terminal: opened March 2008
  • Roanoke Region Intermodal Terminal: on hold
  • Commonwealth Railway Relocation: construction completed December 2009 and became operational December 2010

Financial Status

Closed

Innovations

The first time that the private freight rail industry has worked together with U.S. DOT (FRA, FTA, and FHWA) to develop and finance a rail improvement project. Norfolk Southern is investing $44.4 million in the Central Corridor Double-Stack initiative. This in turn has leveraged $105.6 million in public funding, including a $90 million earmark in SAFETEA-LU. While the project will benefit Norfolk Southern's operations, it will also enhance the competitiveness of ports in the Tidewater region.

Related Links / Articles

FHWA Eastern Federal Lands Highway - Heartland Corridor Clearance Project
Port of Virginia Western Freeway Rail Relocation Website

Railway Technology Article

Contacts

Federal money and project oversight administered by:
FHWA Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division
21400 Ridgetop Circle
Sterling, VA 20166-6511
703-404-6201

Dr. Robert Martinez
Vice President Business Development
Norfolk Southern Corporation
remartin@nscorp.com