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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Girard Siding and Track Construction Project, Illinois

Environmental Assessment (EA)

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is the lead state agency completing the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Girard Siding and Track Construction Project pursuant to 42 USC § 4332, 49 USC § 303, and 64 FR 28545 for the Federal Railroad Administration, the lead federal agency for the Project.

This Project spans 8.77 miles from Milepost (MP) 205.75 to MP 214.52, along the Chicago to St. Louis High Speed Rail Corridor. IDOT proposes  to construct a siding track along the main service line of the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) from the City of Virden south, through the Village of Girard, to the Village of Nilwood, in Macoupin County, Illinois. In addition to the construction of the siding track, this Project will install new signal equipment and switch gear, install new crossing gates and associated safety devices, and replace or reconstruct existing culverts.

The Project would immediately benefit rail passenger and freight services using this mainline today, as well as future use for high speed rail on the corridor. The siding and track work would improve train movement, reduce delays for passenger trains, and reduce congestion in the area between Virden and Nilwood. The siding track would also improve the efficiency of the railroad by allowing for freight train  switching and sorting, and for storing trains during maintenance incidents. The improvements would enhance the safety of train operations through the zone, including at grade crossings within the Project limits.

On June 21, 2013, based on the information presented in the EA, FRA signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). As a result, all federal environmental requirements have been satisfied for this Project.