Final rail line rebuild work set for bidding

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff


Representatives from firms interested in bidding on the final restoration of the Plymouth-Kohler rail line, along with representatives from the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad and the state Department of Transportation, examine a bridge in Kohler which will be replaced as part of the project next year. The $19 million project will be going out for bids shortly, with work scheduled for completion next fall. — Photo by Jerry Thompson Representatives from firms interested in bidding on the final restoration of the Plymouth-Kohler rail line, along with representatives from the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad and the state Department of Transportation, examine a bridge in Kohler which will be replaced as part of the project next year. The $19 million project will be going out for bids shortly, with work scheduled for completion next fall. — Photo by Jerry Thompson PLYMOUTH – The last phase of the reconstruction of the Plymouth Kohler rail line is ready to be bid and apparently drawing great interest from potential contractors.

An informational meeting for potential bidders at Plymouth’s City Hall Thursday drew more than two dozen representatives from various firms.

Representatives from the Wisconsin

Department of Transportation, the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad and Via Rail Logistics reviewed details of the 10.3-mile, $19 million project and led the group on a tour of key points along the project.

The work will include reconstruction of 36 rail crossings and the replacement or rehabilitation of four railroad bridge structures.

The line, when completed, will run from Plymouth to Kohler and will serve industries and customers in Sheboygan Falls as well.

Officials noted that reconstruction of the rail crossing on State 57 in the city of Plymouth will be bid out as a separate project, as there are still details being hashed out on that work.

The hope is it can be done at the same time as the rest of the work and not hold up opening of the rail line, which is scheduled for early November.

They did say that the State 57 rail crossing could be closed for up to two weeks while it is rebuilt and that a detour route has been planned in conjunction with the DOT.

Potential bidders were told they will have to work with local offi- cials in Plymouth and Sheboygan Falls to coordinate street closings for construction.

“We just want to know when you’re closing streets and when you’re going to open them,” Plymouth

Mayor Donald Pohlman told the group. Including State 57, there will be four street crossings rebuilt in the city.

In the city of Sheboygan Falls, there will be significantly more streets impacted by rail crossing closures for rebuilding. City offi cials have already indicated that certain crossings in the city cannot be closed at the same time in order to maintain access for fire, police and emergency vehicles.

There are also two bridges in the city of Sheboygan Falls that will be rebuilt as part of the proj- ect and city officials have also outlined limitations for work and material deliveries on those bridges.

State officials reported that the Department of Natural Resources has already approved the plans for the project.

The work will include filling a substantial amount of wetlands along the route, officials admitted, but DNR permits are in place and mitigation plans have been approved for any wetlands that will have to be filled.

Potential contractors were cautioned that the DNR will be monitoring the work and that they will have to work with the department to see all rules and requirements are met.

The projected rail line will follow the existing rail corridor right-of-way, officials said. This was necessary in order to have the project qualify as a rail line rehabilitation rather than a complete reconstruction, making more aid available.

In the city of Plymouth, the contractor will be required to restore the right-of-way between Thayer and East Clifford streets with topsoil and grass.


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