The Port of Longview will continue to work with several consultants in 2020 to move forward a rail line expansion and berth 4 redevelopment project.
Port Commissioners Wednesday unanimously approved contract amendments with KPFF Consulting Engineers, Inc., Epic Land Solutions and Crete Consulting, among a number of other contract amendments for the port’s financial and planning services. The cost for all of the contracts was previously approved in the port’s 2020 budget.
KPFF and Epic Lands are working with the port on its Industrial Rail Corridor expansion project, a $70 million to $100 million project to add almost 10 miles of rail line to the port by 2026. (The timeline for the project might change depending on the length of the permitting and design processes, as well as the port’s ability to secure funding for the project.)
Under its nearly $821,000 contract, KPFF will help the port with design development, geotechnical modeling, test fill and permitting, coordination with the mainline rail and some right of way purchases.
Additionally, the consultants will lead a rail and traffic study to determine when future rail and road improvements will be needed to handle increased traffic capacity.
KPFF expects to complete that study by the second quarter of 2020, Director of Planning and Environmental Services Lisa Hendricksen told commissioners.
Epic Lands will receive about $102,000 for advising the port during right of way purchases relating to the rail expansion project to ensure they meet state guidelines for future grant funding.
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Commissioners also approved a $53,000 contract with Crete Consulting to help with permitting, designing and drafting bid documents for the demolition of the Bert 4 grain silos.
Berth 4 has been available for redevelopment since Continental Grain vacated the site in the late 1980s. The port is planning to take down the old grain silos and prepare the site for a new tenant.
Initial estimates put demolition costs $4 million to $5 million, but the port will get an updated cost estimate when the project goes to bid, Hendricksen said. Port officials expect permitting for demolition to last through 2020 and potentially into 2021. Demolition is tentatively scheduled for 2022.
Ciner Enterprises, a subsidiary of an international soda ash company, expressed interest early in 2018 in leasing Berth 4 and building a soda ash export terminal. However, the current state of those discussions was unknown Wednesday.
At the meeting, a community member asked port officials if the redevelopment was “for potential customers or for a (specific) potential customer.” Hendricksen said plans to remove the silos date back to 2012, and the port will redevelop Berth 4 whether or not a potential tenant signs on to lease the property. The current redevelopment plans can accommodate a variety of commodities and are not focused on a specific product “at this time,” she added.
Also at the meeting, port commissioners authorized CEO Norm Krehbiel to negotiate and execute a contract with JH Kelly to build a dust control system for Warehouse 10, one of the port’s most heavily used warehouses. Hendricksen said the port is nearing the limits of its air quality permits for the warehouse, and installing a stationary baghouse will ensure the port stays in compliance with its permit as BP increases how much calcined petroleum coke it handles in the warehouse.
The estimated price of the baghouse is $1.15 million, and BP has agreed to cover the costs.