LEWISTON — Dozens of miles of railroad track will be modernized in Maine due to an investment by the federal government.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins said the Maine Department of Transportation has been awarded nearly $17.5 million for infrastructure upgrades and rail crossing improvements. Collins says the upgrades will be made along about 75 miles of Pan Am Railways freight mainline in rural areas in central and southern Maine.

Collins says the work will help improve connections between manufacturers and the forest products industry.

The transportation department will use the improvements to replace equipment that is nearly a half-century old in some cases. The work will replace 37 miles of rail and replace bridge deck timbers on eight rail bridges, among other improvements.

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