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Plans in motion to 'bring rail back' to Harrington with new freight terminal

Milton Pratt
Delaware Public Media

Plans are coming together in Harrington to breathe life into the city’s railroad system and create a shipping hub.

A draft feasibility study and master plan on a new industrial park in Harrington is in its final stages.

The study led by the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) lays out the creation of a multimodal freight terminal for both railroad and trucking to ship bulk commodities for clients in the region.

The site would be built on three properties owned by the city and two private owners totaling 131 acres and including 3,800 feet of existing rail line.

The study estimates 200,000 tons of rail freight and up to 10,000 truckloads would be shipped to the site each year along with the creation of up to 750 permanent jobs. 

“Just how much activity this could really generate not just for the community of Harrington but for the region, and just what a long-term economic impact that could have,” said Marilyn Smith, the MPO executive director.    

The plan’s early estimated cost is more than $20 million. 

Harrington City Planner Karen Brittingham says this is a good time to start the project — with a federal infrastructure plan being considered in Congress. 

“There’s a lot more opportunities to extend the sewer, the water and the roads and be able to serve more properties faster, because funding will be available,” said Brittingham.

The study includes a traffic analysis of the area along with proposed changes to area roadways. Roadway plus sewer infrastructure makes up about $5.3 million of the total estimated cost of the project.

The study also lists several potential funding sources through federal grant programs and the Delaware Department of Transportation’s (DelDOT) Capital Transportation Program.

Brittingham says the city is starting the process of marketing the proposed site to future tenants.

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