ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's a conversation that's been going on for years: Will freight train traffic continue to run through downtown Rochester or will it go around the Med City?
The Southeast Minnesota Freight Rail Capacity Study began in May and will explore all alternatives as well as the current line.
Monday night, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) held an open house at the Rochester International Event Center to discuss the study.
"At what level of new freight rail traffic do we need to do something and then what is the most reasonable and feasible thing to do? And we don't yet know that," said Peter Dahlberg, Mn/DOT project manager.
The U.S. Congress is providing $487,000 for the study.
Olmsted County Regional Rail Authority will pick up 10% of the cost, bringing the total to $541,000.
Mayo Clinic is concerned about congestion in the city, as well as a possible derailment.
"Anything we look at is going to be a partnership and that partnership needs to include the local governments but it also has to include the private sector because we're not going to be able to do these things alone," said Olmsted County Commissioner Paul Wilson.
Mayo Clinic's plan to take the rail line out of the city and around it, through a southern bypass, would affect Dennis Strei's land.
"It could go underground, it could go over the top or it could stay at grade level but let's forget about this bypass business... lets use what we got and develop that," Strei said.
The study is still in the information gathering stage.
By the end of the study we should know a dollar amount for each possible alignment.
Even if officials favor a bypass, some freight will continue downtown to serve customers in the city.
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