News and Tribune

February 25, 2014

River Ridge working on roads, railroad

Improvements begin next phase of center’s growth

By ELIZABETH BEILMAN
elizabeth.beilman@newsandtribune.com

CHARLESTOWN — River Ridge Commerce Center is getting the ball rolling on revamping its modes of transportation, beginning the next phase of its land and commercial development.

Among nine resolutions unanimously passed at the River Ridge Development Authority meeting Monday, four of them concerned road improvements and one addressed the relocation of a railroad line.

Paul Wheatley, director of marketing and finance for the development authority, said River Ridge is paying for each of the projects in full.

“We’re putting in the infrastructure based on the revenues we have,” Wheatley said.

One resolution approved the first phase of railroad construction to relocate the main line through the commerce center.

“No. 1, the rail kind of dissects a parcel in Charlestown that keeps us from maximizing our acreage,” he said.

If the railroad were not moved, Wheatley said River Ridge would be sacrificing nine or 10 acres of good land. Moving the line would allow the tracks to hug the space between two parcels and make the most of the properties.

“It gives us two really, really good 20-acre sites instead of one really good 30-acre site,” he said.

A contract with R.L. Vuckson Excavating Inc. for about $1.1 million for the railroad relocation was part of the resolution. Wheatley said construction will take about two or three months.

Design contracts for both Salem Road and Trey Street were also approved at the meeting for $89,500 and $110,850, respectively.

Both roads bump up against America Place Business Park’s campus at River Ridge, which just announced a 50-acre expansion last week, totaling 80 acres.

Salem Road will connect directly to Interstate 265 from the east-end bridge, expected to be one of the main veins of transportation for the commerce center.

Also passed at the meeting was a $1.8 million federal Economic Development Administration grant for engineering consultants that includes several projects.

The development authority has been in the process of applying for the grant since 2011. The six projects that the grant will cover include a demolition component and Trey Street improvements.

Wheatley said many of the projects discussed at the meeting are part of River Ridge’s next phase of development.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “The past few years, our development has really begun to exponentially grow.”