MnDOT / July 1, 2019
WILLMAR, Minn. – The partners of the Willmar Rail Connector & Industrial Access project are hosting a groundbreaking ceremony on July 9, 2019, at 2:30 p.m. The ceremony will take place at the former Willmar Airport site near County Road 5 and Trott Avenue Southwest. Access to the ceremony will be from County Road 5 with signage directing the way. The public is invited to attend the event.
The project, also known as the Willmar Wye, is a public-private partnership between the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Kandiyohi County, City of Willmar, Kandiyohi/Willmar Economic Development Commission and BNSF Railway, to build a new rail line on the west side of Willmar. The additional rail line will provide a direct connection between the Marshall and Morris Subdivisions of the BNSF freight rail network as well as freight rail access to the City of Willmar’s industrial park.
The project includes the realignment of Highway 12, the reconstruction of Highway 40, including two new bridges, as well as the construction of two new roundabouts.
Benefits of the project include:
- Improved safety for travelers by reducing at-grade crossing exposure
- Increased multi-modal opportunities for shippers
- Economic growth possibilities
- Improved quality of life
- Reduced wait times for railroad crossings to clear
- Fewer trains and reduced noise in downtown Willmar
The Hoffman Team is the contractor on the project. Major participants of the team include Hoffman Construction Company, Lunda Construction Company, and Bolton & Menk, Inc.
For more information on the project visit the project webpage atwww.mndot.gov/d8/projects/willmarwye.
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Willmar Wye Project Summary
Construct a new rail line bypass on the west side of Willmar. The project includes the realignment of Hwy 12 and the reconstruction of Hwy 40, including two new bridges.
Willmar Wye Project Timeline
- Start of road construction: Summer 2019
- Estimated end of road construction: Fall 2021
- Start of rail construction: Spring 2021
- Estimated end of rail construction: Fall 2022
Willmar Wye Project Purpose
The Minnesota Department of Transportation and its partners Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), City of Willmar, Kandiyohi County and the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission will add a rail connection between two existing BNSF railway lines and modify surrounding roadways to better move freight through the city of Willmar.
The Willmar Rail Connector and Industrial Park Access Project (Willmar Wye) will provide a direct connection between the Marshall and Morris Subdivisions of the BNSF rail network. Providing this direct connection will decrease the number of trains that need to pull into the rail yard in downtown Willmar. The project also includes a rail spur that will provide access to the city of Willmar’s industrial park.
The purpose of the Wye project is to:
- Provide a direct connection between the Marshall and Morris Subdivisions of the BNSF Railway freight rail network
- Provide freight rail access to the City of Willmar’s industrial park
Willmar Wye Project Benefits
- Improve safety for travelers by reducing at-grade crossing exposure
- Increase multi-modal opportunities for shippers
- Encourage economic growth
- Improve quality of life
- Delay and emissions savings for travelers (e.g. drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists) by reducing wait times for crossings to clear.
- Reduce the number of trains traversing through downtown Willmar and the accompanying noise.