Rochelle Breaks Ground on $7 Million Rail Expansion

Rochelle Breaks Ground on $7 Million Rail Expansion

Rochelle Breaks Ground on $7 Million Rail Expansion

The  City of Rochelle broke ground today on a $7Million expansion of the City of Rochelle Railroad. The project came about as a result of twelve years of planning for a 3.5 mile extension of the rail system, along with construction of a four track rail bridge and double track transloading rail yard.

Rochelle Mayor Chet Olson congratulated the City Staff for their commitment to launching the project after such a long period by saying “this project is proof we have some very dedicated people who never quit until the job is done”.

The project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce: Economic Development Administration (EDA) the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the City of Rochelle.  Rochelle City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said in response to the funding for the project, “We are very fortunate to have partners like the EDA and IDOT to advance the infrastructure we need to continue growing our industrial base”.

The project consists of three separate contracts which will be constructed simultaneously beginning in August . The four track rail bridge over John’s Creek will be constructed by Martin Excavating of Oregon, IL and the three track rail extension will be built by William Charles of Rockford, IL.  Tom Jorczak, area manager for RailWorks of Minooka IL will oversee the construction of the double track Transloading Yard.

The event brought a number of elected officials and dignitaries to Rochelle to celebrate with City officials. State Representative Tom Demmer, who was a key supporter of the project, observed “Rochelle has found creative ways to leverage its resources to get big things done.”  Another major supporter of the project was Senator Tim Bivins who said “I am very pleased that IDOT was able to work so closely with the City to find a way to help fund the project”.

Jason Anderson, Rochelle’s Economic Development Director who oversees the City’s rail operations summarized the day’s events: “There is no greater sense of accomplishment than when you see people come together to reach a common goal. Today we are creating something that will be a catalyst for industrial development in Rochelle for many years to come”. 

Background: In 1986 the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation with the support of the City of Rochelle founded the City of Rochelle Rail (CIR) system. The CIR which is known as a “Dual Rail” system connects local industries to two Class I railroads, the Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. This municipally owned Short-line railroad has attracted 14 industries, generated millions of dollars to the local tax base and created more than 1,200 jobs over the past three decades

The project is being funded by the Economic Development Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce ($3.42M), The Illinois Department of Transportation ($2.58M) and the City of Rochelle ($1M).