By Erik Olson, April 4, 2013, Longview Daily News
Workers at the Port of Longview are nearing completion of a half-mile rail line extension that port officials say will ease congestion and help attract new industrial tenants.
The $857,000 line connects the port’s east and west industrial parks, running just south of NAP Steel on International Way. When construction is complete in June, port officials say current tenants can start shipping steel coils and other products with fewer delays.
“They can move more cargo through here, more efficiently,” port spokeswoman Ashley Helenberg said.
In developing its master plan, the port has identified an old, unused grain elevator on the west end of the park as a prime place to redevelop. The port currently has about a 54 acres of wind turbine storage just behind the grain elevator, and port officials say they could see conveyors built to unload trains parked on the new rail line.
“It opens up all sort of possibilities,” Norm Krehbiel, the port’s deputy director, said.
A five-man crew started the project in November, and they only have a few hundred feet of rail left to install. The corridor is wide enough to build a second rail line, which port officials say they are considering to meet future growth.
The port has also awarded contracts to local suppliers including J.L. Storedahl for gravel.
The port obtained the funding for the new rail line from an interest-free loan from the state. Port officials say they will start making an annual payment of $85,000 in 2014.