Union Pacific has been working for more than two weeks to replace roughly 10,000 railroad ties in Hermiston.

The work is part of a $77.1 million investment in rail infrastructure across Oregon.

Spokesman Justin Jacobs said the project began April 24 and should finish by mid-May. The goal, Jacobs said, is to give the tracks in Hermiston a face lift and improve safety.

UP has set aside $44.7 million to maintain railroad tracks and $3.2 million to maintain bridges statewide. The railroad has already invested more than $300 million in Oregon rail infrastructure between 2012 and 2016, according to company figures.

“Union Pacific’s targeted investments fund projects that strengthen our railroad tracks, increase safety and minimize delays as trains travel through communities across Oregon,” said Wes Lujan, vice president of public affairs for the railroad’s Western Region in a previous statement. “Maintaining a healthy railroad is the foundation of our ability to serve customers and communities across the state.”

UP plans to spend $3.1 billion across its entire rail network in 2017. Since 2000, the railroad has spent $51 billion and decreased derailments by 40 percent, though last year’s high-profile oil train derailment near Mosier has spurred concerns about rail safety across the Northwest.

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