By Kristi Pihl, May 30, 2013, Tri-City Herald
The Port of Pasco plans to replace rail ties in the Big Pasco Industrial Park in addition to adding a mile of rail to the park thanks to lower-than-expected bids.
Port commissioners agreed Thursday to use $200,000 in capital money to repair the frequently used rail line.
Randy Hayden, the port’s director of planning and engineering, said the $200,000 initially was planned to help cover adding a mile of rail parallel to existing track because officials were not sure the $1.4 million grant would cover the entire project.
Adding the parallel track will make rail more efficient for longer trains, officials have said.
That grant was part of $3.2 million the state Legislature awarded to the city of Pasco and the Port of Pasco so that a mile of rail can be built at Big Pasco and another mile at the Heritage Industrial Center off A Street.
That line would connect 40 acres the city owns to an existing rail switch near Road 40 East. Officials hope that will help attract businesses to the industrial center.
But the bids from Premier Excavation of Pasco ended up being less than expected, Hayden said.
The port and city entered into a joint contract with Premier Excavation for $2.91 million in April.
That gives the port an opportunity to rehabilitate up to 4,000 feet of rail a little earlier than planned. Hayden said the work would have needed to be done next year anyway.
The wooden ties on the rail are rotting, he said. As part of the rehabilitation, new ties will be put in every third to fourth tie.
Hayden said the port will need to work with tenants to schedule the work. Most of the tenants using that part of the line are getting rail cars from the railroad two times a week.
Construction on the two new miles of rail began Tuesday, Hayden said.