FRA and the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) have prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzing the effects of relocating the BNSF Railway Company main line that currently runs through the city of Tupelo, Mississippi. The purpose of the project is to improve mobility and safety by reducing roadway congestion caused by the movement of trains running through Tupelo, especially at the intersection of Main Street and Gloster Street. On May 10, 2011, FRA signed the Draft EIS, and on August 11, 2011, FRA and MDOT held a public hearing on the Draft EIS at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo. FRA and MDOT received comments until September 12, 2011, and used those comments to revise the Draft EIS. On October 22, 2013, FRA signed the Final EIS.
After eliminating various alternatives during the preparation of the EIS, ultimately FRA and MDOT evaluated only the Selected Alternative and the No-Build Alternative. The Selected Alternative would elevate the BNSF main line within the existing BNSF right-of-way on an approximately 2.8-mile long viaduct made of an earthen-filled retaining wall and bridge structure. The Selected Alternative would also include operational improvements consisting of a relocated interchange for the exchange of railcars between the BNSF main line and the Kansas City Southern rail line. The total cost for the project is approximately $385 million (in 2008 dollars). As of the date FRA signed the EIS, there is no identified funding for the project.
On December 2, 2013, FRA transmitted the Final EIS to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). FRA anticipates that the EPA will include the Tupelo Final EIS in the Notice of Availability for either the week of December 2nd or December 9th. Once the Final EIS is listed in a Notice of Availability, interested parties have 30 days to comment on the Final EIS. Any comments may be sent to the FRA or MDOT contacts listed on the signature page.
The Final EIS can be found here. Additional information can be found at MDOT’s website:
For more information on the Tupelo Rail Line Relocation, please contact John Winkle at (202) 493-6067 or at John.Winkle@DOT.Gov