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New Portageville Bridge starts carrying freight trains in Letchworth

Governor Andrew Cuomo this week announced the start of  freight rail service on the new Portageville Bridge in Letchworth State Park. He says the new bridge will allow Norfolk Southern Railway to continue safe, reliable, and efficient rail operations on that route.

Cuomo announced three years ago federal approval of the plan to build a new arch bridge to replace the historic Portageville Bridge which carries the Norfolk Southern Railway Southern Tier Line.

The new bridge was built just to the south of the old Portageville Bridge, which was built in 1875. That structure will be removed upon completion of the new arch span.

Officials say the new bridge addresses deficiencies in the historic structure and is capable of carrying current industry standard freight rail loads.

According to Norfolk Southern, the new bridge will speed up train traffic and enable Norfolk Southern to run heavier rail car loads over the line, eliminating a major rail bottleneck for freight shippers.

The design and construction of the $75 million bridge project included $15.5 million from New York State, including a $2 million grant from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and $13.5 million in State and federal funds through the New York State Department of Transportation; and $59.5 million from Norfolk Southern.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.