A major transportation link in eastern Iowa that was destroyed by the floods last year is set to re-open for business. The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Company (CRANDIC) bridge over the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids collapsed into the Cedar River during the flood, cutting off rail access to some downtown businesses.
CRANDIC chief operating officer, Joe McGovern, says the bridge is a key link for the rail line. "It gives us a chance to do interchange with two other railroads that are important to the downtown Cedar Rapids area and it prevented our system from effectively being cut in half based on the geography of the river," McGovern says.
McGovern says the bridge will allow trains to connect to the Canadian National Railroad and Iowa Northern Railroad in Cedar Rapids. The CRANDIC line also connects to the Union Pacific and Iowa Interstate railroads. McGovern says they move roughly 100,000 cars that can carry about 150 tons each travel the rail line every year.
A grant from the federal government paid for most of the $9-million cost to repair the bridge. McGovern says the grant was $6.96 million and it covered both a portion of the bridge reconstruction as well as installation of some of the signals that were damaged during the flood and some of the main line that was damaged after the flood as well.
Trains had to be rerouted hundreds of miles out of the way to get around the collapsed bridge and into Cedar Rapids.