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      Waiting on Trains: SC Hopes Federal Funds Will Ease Problem

      (SIOUX CITY, IA) It may be the biggest frustration drivers face in Sioux City - waiting for a train.
      But now the city hopes to ease part of that problem by building a nearly $20 million viaduct.

      The viaduct would carry traffic over the tracks at 18th street. It would run from Floyd Boulevard to Steuben.
      Its part of the bigger Hoeven Valley plan which also included the Outer Drive Connector.

      If you've ever heard the sound of a train putting on the brakes then you know it's in limbo and it's not moving until it gets clearance.

      "We have a lot of railroads in Sioux City and that's a good thing for business growth, industrial growth. It provides efficient, cost effective transportation. But it does create transportation problems; if you're sitting behind a train you understand that," says Marty Dougherty, The Economic Development Director for Sioux City.

      So the city came up with a plan to build a $19.8 million viaduct. The city hopes a grant from the federal government will pay a large part of the construction costs.

      The city says the viaduct has been in the works since 2002 and it would ease traffic along 18th street - a road in which sometimes people have to wait several minutes if a train is passing through.

      One train was parked for more than 10 minutes Tuesday afternoon. Some drivers got impatient and turned around to find another route.

      But easing traffic isn't the only reason why the city wants the viaduct.

      "Of course we see other benefits too like the ability to open up some of the rail yards to see them grow. That will help the industries grow. There's great safety, emergency vehicles for example going through the area," says Dougherty.

      Council Woman Rhonda Capron says the plan is just what Sioux City needs.

      "You can't say no to something like this. This is growth for the city and that's exactly what we're looking for. The viaduct would be a perfect example of growth. Because you're going to be able to get people to travel across back and forth faster. That is a huge thing in Sioux City because we are a rail city actually so we have trains everywhere in this town," says Capron.

      Dougherty says the city is optimistic it'll receive the funds.

      The city should know by mid-July whether it'll receive the nearly $14 million it wants in federal money.

      Hleigh@siouxlandnews.com

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