The Port of Long Beach is moving full speed ahead with plans to build a new on-dock rail support yard that will expedite the flow of cargo, ease roadway congestion and reduce emissions by decreasing truck trips. With two key contracts approved in early July by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, engineering design work and program management of the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility project is now proceeding.
“Modernizing Pier B will allow our marine container terminals to move more cargo seamlessly from the docks to their destinations in America’s heartland,” said board president Tracy Egoscue. “These efficiencies also advance our environmental goals under the Clean Air Action Plan.”
The Port awarded the engineering design contract to HDR Engineering Inc. Under the five-year, US$38.75 million contract, the Long Beach engineering firm’s services include program-level design; utility, geotechnical and right-of-way analysis and planning; development of specifications for the first phase of rail improvements and the realignment of Pier B Street; and support work ensuring the facility is designed and built to maximize on-dock rail use and efficiency.
Irvine, California-based Hill International was awarded the contract for program management, project controls and real estate services. Under its five-year, US$17.5 million contract, Hill will assist the port with multiple administrative tasks including project management, design review, risk management, permitting, managing the program’s schedule, budget, costs and progress, and business relocation and property acquisition.
The Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility project will reconfigure, expand and enhance the existing rail facility located southwest of West Anaheim Street and the 710 Freeway. When completed, the US$870 million, 171-acre rail facility will be a full-service staging area for storing, sorting and assembling trains up to 10,000 feet long.
“Our commitment to operational excellence starts with comprehensive planning and design, ensuring that this state-of-the-art rail facility increases efficiencies for our customers while improving air quality for our community,” said Port executive director Mario Cordero. “Better, faster and safer on-dock rail service makes our Port more competitive and strengthens every link in the supply chain.”
Under 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update, the San Pedro Bay ports committed to improving rail infrastructure in the harbor area so that 35% of all import containers leave the complex by on-dock rail. One double-stacked train eliminates about 750 truck trips, making on-dock rail both more efficient and sustainable. Currently, on-dock rail usage at the Port of Long Beach is about 24%.
Like all major port redevelopment projects, the new rail facility will be built in phases. The first arrival, departure and storage tracks are expected to be operational in 2024, additional tracks are due to come online in 2030, and the entire project is scheduled to be completed in 2032.
The Board of Harbor Commissioners approved the final environmental impact report for the new rail facility in January 2018. In order to allow access to federal grants or loans, the project is currently undergoing federal environmental review by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.