Thursday, September 24, 2009

Railroad shows intermodal facility plans to public

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Pan Am Southern railroad, which wants to build an intermodal yard in the area, showed the town planning board and residents how it plans to deal with noise and traffic concerns at a meeting at Halfmoon, N.Y., town hall, local newspapers report.

Residents of an area across from the proposed truck entrance to the yard have expressed concerns about noise and diesel fumes. They've established a Web site, www.movethebridge.com, to present their case for moving the entrance and a planned bridge over the tracks to another location. Residents' concerns about the project, as well as $3 million in state assistance that was promised but not yet delivered, apparently are holding up work on the new yard.

The project was announced in July 2008 by then State Senator Joseph L. Bruno. When it is fully operational, it will employ more than 80 people, railroad officials said earlier this year.

Steve Watts, chairman of the Halfmoon Planning Board, said other concerns with the $40-million project include lighting mitigation, noise, access to the Zim Smith recreation trail and the truck entrance.

"I don't know that it can be moved easily," Watts said of the alternate location.

Pan Am Southern LLC is a joint venture of Pan Am Railways, formerly Guilford Transportation and before that the Boston and Maine Railroad, and Norfolk Southern Railway.

Initially, rail officials hoped to have new-car distribution operations in place by January 2010, with intermodal shipments following in April. But delays have pushed back the target dates. Most recently, rail officials had hoped to begin construction some time in August, but that also didn't happen.

A spokesman for Norfolk Southern said the railroad was still working out some details with Halfmoon.

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