Port Begins Final Phase of West Vancouver
by Web Page
VANCOUVER, Wash. -- The final elements in a decade-long, $275 million effort to improve rail movement at the Port of Vancouver USA are moving toward construction.
The port's Board of Commissioners in October authorized a $1.6 million construction contract with Railworks Track Systems of Chehalis, Washington. The contract ties together several parts of the port's West Vancouver Freight Access Project (WVFA) and is the last piece necessary to make the port's new rail entrance fully operational. It includes:
The WVFA began in the early 2000s as a $57 million project to address rail congestion by creating a new rail entrance for the Port of Vancouver. As the port improved its rail system, port tenants began investing in their facilities to take advantage of added capacity. Since its inception, 20 projects have been added to the original WVFA, taking the overall improvements to an estimated $275 million with a completion date of 2017.
Thanks to careful planning and competitive bids during the recent recession, the port now expects to deliver this critical infrastructure as early as 2015 and several million dollars under the estimated cost.
"It took a lot of hard work to deliver this project efficiently, and I'm very proud," said port CEO Todd Coleman. "A decade ago, pinch points were squeezing our customers and they struggled to keep their cargoes moving, keep their businesses competitive. Now we have more than triple the rail capacity, giving our tenants and customers room to grow."
The port expects to start work on this phase of construction in December 2014. The entire WVFA is anticipated to be complete well ahead of the 2017 deadline.
WVFA spurs private investment
Port tenants and neighbors, including United Grain Corp., Great Western Malting and Farwest Steel, have already invested more than $200 million in private funds to upgrade facilities and equipment and take advantage of increased capacity.
The port's expanding rail facilities are also attracting the promise of new private investments. Mega projects and new commodities are betting on the Port of Vancouver's superb access to river, road and rail, as well as its prime location on the very active trade route between the Midcontinent and the Pacific Rim.
"We expect to see more than $500 million in private investments resulting from the WVFA over the next five years," said Coleman, "so we aren't done improving rail infrastructure at the Port of Vancouver. We'll continue building and improving to support our current tenants' needs as they grow and find capacity for those who want to bring their business to Vancouver."
WVFA was funded as dollars became available from a number of sources, including state and federal grants, tenant investments and funds from BNSF Railway.
The project's benefits stretch far beyond the Port of Vancouver's boundaries, which helped the port compete for and earn highly competitive grants, including:
By the time it's complete, the WVFA will create an estimated 4,000 construction jobs and between 1,000 and 2,000 permanent new jobs.
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