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Rail rehab wins award

PIERRE -- The 2012 Mitchell to Chamberlain railroad rehabilitation has won regional acclaim in the America's Transportation Awards competition, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation won the award in the Best Use of Innovation category for a medium-sized project.

The reconstruction of the MRC (Mitchell-Rapid City Regional Rail Authority) Railroad from Mitchell to Chamberlain was selected as a TIGER II project, receiving $16 million in federal funds.

The $28 million project began in May 2011 at the Mitchell end of the short line and was completed in November 2012. Crews worked their way west replacing 61.6 miles of rail and 96,000 ties. They also added 63,000 tons of ballast, lined and surfaced the track, and replaced crossings.

"This project is important to the rail industry and the economic development in our rural areas," said South Dakota Department of Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist in a news release. "Rehabilitation of this has spurred construction of a grain elevator near Kimball, created jobs and will allow producers to ship goods at a lower cost, thus putting more money in the pockets of farmers, ranchers and businesses."

The project was a cooperative effort between the South Dakota Department of Transportation, the MRC Regional Rail Authority, the South Dakota Railroad Board and Dakota Southern Railway.

Learn more about the project and the competition at