South Dakota’s Rail Board approved a $450 million rail plan at its meeting this week and the top priority on the list is in Iowa. Board chairman Todd Yeaton says the rail interchange in Sioux City needs a major upgrade.
“What’s important about Sioux City is, especially with the state-owned rail, the lack of ability to interchange with other Class 1 railroads besides the BN (Burlington Northern),” Yeaton says. “There’s lacking the ability to interchange tracks to do that and that’s what the Sioux City interchange is.”
Yeaton says the interchange in northwest Iowa was included in the original core rail plan when the state bought the lines in the 1980s, but it’s still waiting. He says there will soon be more traffic heading through that interchange. Yeaton says, “It’s a bottleneck, especially with the development we have on the state-owned lines, this line west of Chamberlain going, looking at the new facility down at Tabor, it’s something that needs to be taken care of.”
Yeaton says despite the interchange being in Iowa, South Dakota will probably have to pay most of the cost of the upgrade. “It’ll end up probably being shouldered by the state of South Dakota, most likely,” Yeaton says. “That was what it originally amounted to be. It’s mainly the interchange with Union Pacific and then with the Canadian National as well.” The Sioux City project is expected to cost about three-and-a-half million dollars.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)