Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vancouver USA Port Approves New Rail Construction Contract

Commissioners for the Washington State Port of Vancouver on Tuesday approved a $14.2 million contract for the construction of a new rail loop at the port's under-development Terminal 5.

Vancouver, Washington-based contracting firm Rotschy Inc. beat out four other bidders to win the contract which calls for the construction of the rail line as part of the $137 million West Vancouver Freight Access project.

The rail loop, when completed, will encircle 1.8 miles of the former Alcoa-Evergreen aluminum facility property at the port that is being redeveloped. Work is expected to start on the rail loop next month with a scheduled completion date of mid-June, 2009.

The West Vancouver Freight Access project envisions the creation of a state-of-the-art unit train facility at the port– expanding the port's dedicated rail facilities from 18 miles of track to more than 43 miles– providing significant unit train improvements and marked capacity improvements to Pacific Northwest mainline tracks. The port estimates that once the project is completed, port rail traffic could increase from 57,000 rail cars a day to 160,000 rail cars a day.

Class I rail carrier BNSF currently handles all rail services inside the port property, and delivers approximately 20 percent of port traffic for further handling by Union Pacific.

Estimates also predict that when the project is complete the new facility will result in the creation of 1,900 local jobs, $64 million in direct income annually and approximately $24 million in tax revenue annually for the community.