A major rail yard expansion project in Portland, Wash., is improving efficiency and capacity for exports at the city's largest industrial park. Completed in June and now fully operational, the South Rivergate Yard expansion project was the last in a series of four recent rail and road improvement projects located in Rivergate Industrial District.
Partnerships involving both the public and private sector made it possible. The $11 million rail yard expansion was funded through investments from the Port of Portland, ConnectOregon II state transportation funding, Union Pacific and BNSF. Improving freight mobility and rail velocity makes the bulk facilities at marine Terminal 5 more competitive.
“Collaboration is key to securing funding for large transportation infrastructure,” said Greg Guthrie, director of marketing, BNSF. “Together we can provide better freight mobility by building on each partners’ strengths, make connections and utilize greener technology.”
Construction began in 2010 to expand the rail yard and construct five additional tracks in the yard to increase capacity and nearly double service to Columbia Grain. This facility alone handled more than 4.7 million tons of grain in 2011. Rail connections between the north and south portions of Rivergate have been enhanced and the yard is now capable of handling multiple unit trains of 100 cars or more per day.
“Projects like this rail yard expansion bring greater rail network efficiencies in the transportation of goods to the port’s customers,” said Sebastian Degens, port general manager of marine marketing. “Transportation infrastructure demands our attention and investments to remain competitive and help our customers prepare for the future.”