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Massena rail spur to be complete by end of the year

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MASSENA — After years of conversation and debate, Massena’s industrial park will finally be connected to CSX’s main line railroad, thanks to a rail spur that will be built and paid for through a combination of grants from various sources.

The board of directors of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena voted 5-0 this week to award the contract for construction of the spur to Patterson-Stevens, a railroad construction firm based in Buffalo. Its bid of $571,660 was more than $21,000 less than the $593,340 bid from W.J. Riegel Rail Solutions LLC, Glenmont.

BDC Executive Director Thomas G. Sullivan said the awarding of the contract was contingent on approval from the BDC’s engineer and the various funding agencies that will help pay for the project.

The project will be paid for with a funding package that includes grants from the state Department of Transportation, Empire State Development Corp. and Northern Border Regional Commission.

“By passing the resolution, that will give (Patterson-Stevens) the ability to move on to the next step,” Mr. Sullivan said, adding that BDC’s engineers, Erdman Anthony of Troy, also will review the project’s specifications to make sure they match what is needed.

BDC board member Paul A. Rufa, who has handled much of the work connected to the railroad project, said the spur should be completed by the end of the year.

“Just so everyone knows, it does have a completion date of December of this year. So once it’s concurred, the person will have to complete the project by this year,” he said.

Both Mr. Rufa and Mr. Sullivan said the spur will be installed without a scale.

“At this point, we’re going to leave the scale out,” Mr. Sullivan said. “The funding for the project should be right on. We may have a little wiggle room once they go through and look at all the line items, but the scale was going to be way too expensive.”

Town Councilman Samuel D. Carbone, who also was at the meeting, asked how difficult it would be to go back and install a scale once the spur was complete.

Mr. Sullivan said it depended on the type of scale. He said that just because a scale isn’t being included now doesn’t mean there won’t be a scale on the spur in the future.

“The bids came in and were going to be way too expensive. So it wasn’t feasible at this point,” he said. “Now down the road, if we get a couple of other industries that want to locate in the industrial park because there is a rail spur and they said, ‘We really need that,’ then we can look at going back for alternate funding or different grants down the road. But at this point it just wasn’t going to make sense.”

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