Rock County was given approval to establish an at-grade public crossing of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad tracks with County Highway M in the city of Milton. The decision from the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads was announced Feb. 4.

The city plans to install a new industry lead track from south of the western end of Putman Parkway running east along the south side of Putman Parkway and across CTH M to serve Clasen Quality Chocolate.

The company specializing in chocolate and confectionery coatings plans to build a 390,000-square-foot facility in Milton, creating a projected tax value of no less than $29 million. The manufacturing and distribution facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 and bring 50 new jobs to Milton.

Clasen Quality Chocolate intends to create a 169-acre site in Crossroads Business Park.

As part of a TIF agreement, Clasen agrees to extend a rail line about 3,500 linear feet from west of Penn Color to its site.

The city of Milton will own the new industrial track and the WSOR will operate it under the terms of an Industry Track Agreement between the WSOR and the city providing allocation of maintenance costs for track and required warning devices at CTH M.

The county argued that the crossing of CTH M is advisable from an economic development and transportation planning perspective to leverage rail service in the city’s Crossroads Business Park. Railroad crossing and yield signs are required at each approach to a passive railroad-highway grade crossing. The WSOR will serve Clasen Quality Chocolate with rail tankers carrying sugars and food-grade oils at least three nights per week.

The company intends to start construction on the rail spur, an extension of Putman Parkway and its facility as soon as possible in 2021, Hulick said.

Clasen Quality Chocolate has facilities in Middleton and Watertown and corporate offices in Madison.

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