OMAHA, Neb. — San Juan County, New Mexico, has selected HDR to perform a feasibility study for the Four Corners Freight Rail project. The proposed greenfield rail line would connect the Farmington, New Mexico, area to the national freight network via the BNSF line near Gallup, New Mexico, approximately 120 miles south.

The new rail line has been discussed for decades as a catalyst for attracting manufacturing industry and spurring business development in the northwest New Mexico region. In 2020, the county signed a memorandum of understanding with the Navajo Nation to cooperate on the future railway development.

The study will produce an economic feasibility analysis examining freight traffic demand and other factors, as well as an alternatives analysis to identify possible routes and design options. HDR will also provide preliminary engineering, environmental review and stakeholder coordination.

“The Four Corners Freight Rail project has the potential to transform the communities along its route for the better, creating valuable new opportunities for San Juan County and Navajo Nation residents,” said HDR U.S. Director of Rail Planning Kevin Keller, project lead. “Our diversified team has extensive rail expertise including economic analyses, environmental studies and strategic stakeholder engagement programs to help drive innovation, collaboration and program delivery. We are honored to assist San Juan County in this once-in-a-generation effort.”

HDR’s freight rail practice has decades of experience working with railroads, communities and agencies across North America to increase efficiency, apply the latest rail technology, and improve the flow of goods and people.

Funding for the Four Corners study comes from a $2 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant secured by a partnership of the county and the Navajo Nation in 2020 to support pre-National Environmental Policy Act project development and alternatives analysis for the rail line.

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