Muskego Yard Freight Rail Bypass Project

​​​​The Muskego Yard Freight Rail Bypass Project is an improvement project that will update and reconfigure existing rail and yard facilities along the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) railroad corridor in Milwaukee.

Purpose/Need​

The Muskego Yard Freight Rail Bypass Project is one of the infrastructure projects needed to prepare the corridor for additional round-trips between Milwaukee and Chicago by the Amtrak Hiawatha Service. The Hiawatha is one of the busiest Amtrak routes in the nation and the busiest routes in the Midwest, setting a record in 2019 of more than 880,000 passengers. This service i​s critical to the economic growth in the region. The Hiawatha also provides connections to seven other Midwest regional state-supported intercity passenger routes.

The project will improve signal, track and structure upgrades resulting in:

  • Improved freight and passenger rail operations by increasing yard capacity and the number of dedicated through tracks
  • Improved safety by removing the majority of freight traffic through the Milwaukee Intermodal Station (MIS)
  • Improved safety and fewer delays for cars, bus, bicycle and pedestrian traffic by routing freight rail traffic to grade separated crossings
  • Decreased cost by improving travel times for freight trains
  • Facilitates additional passenger rail trains by freeing up rail capacity through MIS

Overview

This project will: 

  • ​Create a new double-track mainline through Muskego yard that will become the primary route for freight traffic traveling though Milwaukee
  • Install a Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) system to allow signals to automatically change in response to track occupancy and remote control.
  • Rehabilitate the 100+ year-old structure across Burnham Canal and the Menomonee Valley River to accommodate higher loading capacity and speed.

Project location

The project is in the Menomonee Valley, south of I-94 and east of I-94/I-43. The project limits begin west of Muskego Yard at milepost (MP) 88.4 at the Grand Avenue railroad control point (CP Grand) on the Watertown Subdivision and end east of Muskego Yard at MP 83.4 at the Kinnickinnic River Bridge railroad control point (CP KK Bridge) on the Chicago & Milwaukee Subdivision. See map on right.

Right of way needs

Limited right of way purchases are anticipated for this project along the CPR property. Property owners will be contacted, if needed.

Schedule

  • Public involvement - July 2020
  • Environmental clearance and preliminary engineering - Summer/Fall 2020
  • Final design - 2021
  • Construction 2022 - 2023

​This project has been selected for a federal grant award for final design and construction.​

Public involvement

To slow the spread of COVID-19, WisDOT is posting the informational presentation online. Residents, property, and business owners within the project limits have been mailed a postcard, alerting them to the availability of online materials, the deadline for comment, and contact information for project staff. These materials may be accessed below:​

Send comments by August 7, 2020:

  • Via email to: Muskego.​Yard@dot.wi.gov​
  • By mail to: Arun Rao, WisDOT Division of Transportation Investment Management, Railroads and Harbors, PO Box 7913, Madison, WI 53707

Thank you for your interest and assistance with this important project.

Contact

Arun Rao, AICP, Passenger Rail Implementation Manager​
(608) 266-3015
arun.rao@dot.wi.gov