Work has begun on $88 million in construction projects for three segments of the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension in Alaska. Contracts were recently awarded to three construction companies and up to 200 jobs in the construction industry could be created this summer.
Bristol Construction will continue its work on Segment 1, the first five miles of the rail embankment. In October 2012, earthmoving was completed to the wetlands boundary.
Granite Construction was awarded the contract for Segment 6 near Houston. Segment 6 is 1.8 miles long. It will create a new “Y” rail connection on the north-eastern end of the project, as well as a new siding adjacent to the Alaska Railroad mainline to Fairbanks. The “Y” will enable freight service between Port MacKenzie and Fairbanks to the north and Anchorage/Kenai areas to the south.
QAP was awarded the contract for Segment 3. The segment is 6.5 miles long and will run from Ayrshire Road to Papoose Twins Road near Susitna Parkway. Clearing of the rail extension right-of-way has begun.
Segment 4, approximately 7.4 miles from Papoose Twins Road to north of Horseshoe Lake, will be awarded in late summer. State general obligation bonds recently sold and are funding the project.
The 32-mile rail project will connect the mainline of the Alaska Railroad near Houston to the deep draft dock at Port MacKenzie. The the Matanuska-Susitna Borough has secured $116 million in state legislative appropriations and state voters approved $30 million for a General Obligation bond for the project. To complete the entire project, this year, the borough is requesting $126 million in state appropriations. The project is expected to be completed by 2016.