The Port of Long Beach (POLB) on Nov. 10 released its relocation plan for the proposed Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility project, which will reconfigure, expand and enhance the existing rail yard and directly connect to on-dock rail facilities and the Alameda Corridor railway.
The new facility, POLB says, will enable the Port to “move more cargo by trains, speeding deliveries across the entire national supply chain, easing congestion and lessening local environmental impacts.” By allowing longer trains to be assembled with greater frequency, the new facility, which is valued at $1.567 billion, will “dramatically streamline rail operations and minimize the increase in truck trips as cargo volume grows,” the Port added.
According to the relocation plan, which was prepared by Overland, Pacific & Cutler, LLC (OPC), POLB is proposing the reconfiguration and expansion of the existing Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility, which serves as a storage snd staging area for trains and is primarily used by Pacific Harbor Line. The current facility is located southwest of Anaheim Street and the 710 Freeway at POLB in Los Angeles County, Calif. Portions of the project would be located within the City of Long Beach and City of Los Angeles and would mean that the Port will need to acquire some properties in the project’s footprint.
The project, which received federal environmental approval in April 2022, has been designed by POLB to “aid in the transport of an anticipated increase in cargo volume into the Port.” POLB says its goal for the project is to maximize on-dock intermodal operations by:
- Increasing the volume of containers handled by on-dock rail from its current capacity of 23% to 30-35% of all cargo handled by the Port
- Providing a facility that can accept and handle longer container trains within the Port.
- Implementing an expansion design that can be constructed and operated on a scale that is cost effective and fiscally prudent for POLB and the City of Long Beach.
“The release of the relocation plan is another key step toward moving the program towards construction,” POLB said in a release. “It will serve as a roadmap, ensuring the Port has the necessary resources and expertise to provide relocation benefits to those directly impacted by the program.”
The Port of Long Beach in December 2016 released a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the project. The final EIR was approved by the Board of Harbor Commissioners in January 2018. And in July 2019, the Commission awarded an engineering design services contract to HDR to perform the final design on the facility. Construction is set to begin in 2022. EIR documents can be viewed here.
According to the relocation plan, the first arrival, departure and storage tracks are expected to be completed in 2024, with additional tracks coming online in 2030, followed by project completion in 2032. The program has a phased-in approach, which will put each new phase and feature into service as it is completed, “helping to improve rail operations along the way,” POLB said. For example, Phase 1 rail work, to be completed in 2024, will double the capacity of the existing Pier B rail yard.
As part of its Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility Program, POLB will redevelop its property at 3000 East I St. in Wilmington into a new Locomotive Support Facility—the first major component of the project. With this facility the Port plans to landscape a 26-foot-wide strip of public street right-of-way (ROW) in coordination with the City of Los Angeles. The plan calls for new fencing, lighting and landscaping, as well as new street trees and shrubs, and a new perimeter fence. The Locomotive Facility, is scheduled to be completed in 2025, creating a functional 10,000-foot-long track.
According to the relocation plan, the proposed project currently involves the acquisition of 49 parcels made up of 23 full acquisitions and 26 partial acquisitions. The property acquisition that will take place for the proposed project “will potentially cause the displacement of two residential households, consisting of two individuals, and 30 non-residential occupants.”
The needs and characteristics of the displaced population, available relocation resources and POLB’s program to aid each affected residential and non-residential occupant are the general subjects of the relocation plan.
To date, POLB has received almost $79 million in grant funds. Metro awarded $10 million to the project under Measure R, I-710 Early Action Fund Program. Additionally, POLB received $16.3 million in federal transportation bill funding managed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), as well as $52.3 million from the U.S. Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program.
According to POLB, the Port has also completed the federal permitting process to qualify for additional funding. MARAD has issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision on the project. The EIS is available here.
Following receipt of public comments, which must be submitted in writing no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, to Mark La Bonte, OPC Senior Project Manager at 5000 Airport Drive Suite 250, Long Beach, CA 90815 or to [email protected], the relocation plan will be submitted to the Board of Harbor Commissioners for approval.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL RELOCATION PLAN BELOW: