PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota railroad rehabilitation project has captured regional acclaim from a national organization.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation says the Mitchell to Chamberlain project was recognized in the America's Transportation Awards for its best use of innovation.

Crews working the $28 million project replaced 61.6 miles of rail and 96,000 ties and added 63,000 tons of ballast. They also lined and surfaced the track and replaced crossings.

The competition is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Work began in May 2011 and was completed this past November.

Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist says the rehabilitation has spurred construction of a grain elevator near Kimball, created jobs and allowed farmers and ranchers to ship goods at a lower cost.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.