The Port of Long Beach on Tuesday broke ground on a major track realignment to remove a railroad bottleneck and development of a rail support yard to help eliminate many truck deliveries on local streets and improve cargo flow.
The $84 million project, one of four rail projects collectively dubbed the "Green Port Gateway," was funded in part by a $17 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and $27 million from the state of California's Proposition 1B transportation measure.
When completed, the project will improve the connection between the Port of Long Beach and the Alameda Corridor rail line that carries about 15 percent of all waterborne containers entering or leaving the United States.
The port will add a third rail line accessing terminals on the southeast end of the port, reconfigure a street to make room for the additional rail line, and add a rail support yard for the port's new $1.2 billion Middle Harbor Terminal, currently under construction. Overall, about 29,000 feet of track is being added. The total cost includes engineering design, utility relocation and construction management.
Construction, which will generate about 340 jobs, is scheduled for completion in July 2014, according to an announcement by the port.
“Efficient trade requires up-to-date infrastructure for stability and growth,” Maritime Administrator David Matsuda, said in a statement. “With these improvements, we've greatly improved port infrastructure and our ability to export American products overseas. Projects like this one will help us achieve President Obama's goal of doubling our nation's exports by 2015.”
Matsuda attended the groundbreaking ceremony and later met with leaders in the port community to discuss infrastructure, security and environmental challenges faced by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
- Eric Kulisch