Ports Authority plans major rail expansion

[private]The Georgia Ports Authority is planning a major expansion of its rail facilities that officials hope will broaden its intermodal cargo reach to markets in Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago and the Ohio Valley.

GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch says the “Mid American Arc” project, which will cost an estimated $128 million to complete, could be a “game changer” for the state’s ports facilities.

That money will be spent on top of the more than $700 million in state and federal funds that has already been allocated to dredge the Savannah River to allow larger ships to off-load cargo at the port.

With construction expected to start next March, the authority will expand rail facilities at the Garden City Terminal so that the terminal can handle unit trains up to 10,000 feet long. That will result in more efficient use of track and lower the per-container cost of transportation for CSX and Norfolk Southern.

“In turn, this is a powerful incentive for them to offer faster, more frequent service to vital inland markets,” Lynch said.

GPA plans to build two arrival/departure tracks and expand the track east from Chatham Yard to new arrival/departure tracks. The project also includes the rebuilding of a bridge over new yard tracks and the Pipemakers Canal.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing a $44 million federal grant for the project, while the remaining $84 million will be funded out of GPA’s internal capital funds.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Garden City Terminal , Georgia Ports Authority , rail expansion