Press-Telegram, Long Beach, Calif.
Port of Long Beach Gets DOT Grant for Rail Facility Project
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The Port of Long Beach will improve and expand several roadways within its Pier B railyard, officials announced on Nov. 3 — with help from a $52.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
That federal money will fund improvements in three specific areas under the port’s North Harbor Transportation Improvements Project — which is part of the port’s work on its larger Pier B on-dock rail support facility.
The Pier B facility project, currently in progress, intends to reconfigure the port’s existing 171-acre railyard in the Harbor District to improve cargo movement, ease roadway congestion and improve air quality. The entire Pier B project is expected to be completed in 2032.
The grant is being administered by DOT’s Maritime Administration through the Port Infrastructure Development Program, with money from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. The money will fund improvements to the Dominguez Channel Bridge, North Harbor and Pico Avenue areas.
The Dominguez Channel Bridge, which provides a direct connection between the port and the Alameda Corridor, will be expanded with an additional railway track to remove traffic bottlenecks, according to the announcement.
Bridge safety will also be enhanced with new train worker walkways, railroad signals, handrails and fencing, according to POLB’s website.
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Several roadways in the North Harbor area will be upgraded and relocated with the DOT grant funds, the release said, to ensure that truck drivers will be able to move goods consistently. Several safety and infrastructure upgrades along Pico Avenue also will be completed with the grant funds, the announcement said.
The project is anticipated to begin in 2026 and be completed toward the end of 2029, according to POLB spokesperson Lee Peterson.
The upgrades, port and other officials said Nov. 3, are critical to ensuring POLB maintains a competitive edge in the shipping industry and stays on track with its environmental goals.
Bolstering efficiency has long been a priority at both the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, but it gained particular urgency during the coronavirus pandemic, when inflated cargo volumes resulted in significant congestion in the San Pedro Bay Complex for months.
The logjam of cargo has largely been resolved since then, but now both ports have faced continuing challenges with decreases in cargo volume as consumer spending habits shift in light of myriad economic factors — and some shippers having moved their cargo to East Coast ports in an effort to avoid delays.
Both ports have experienced sluggish cargo volumes throughout 2023, compared to the surges reported during the height of the pandemic — though POLB and POLA both saw cargo increases in September.
Projects like the Pier B facility and its various sub-components, meanwhile, will help ensure the Long Beach port continues in the right direction, Mayor Rex Richardson said in the Nov. 3 announcement.
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“The [project] will modernize and expand key rail and roadways while ensuring that [POLB] remains a national leader on goods movement and the environment,” Richardson said. “This investment will create jobs, boost our economy and improve the quality of life for Long Beach residents.”
Other officials said the grant will help POLB continue toward its goal of reducing its environmental impact.
“The infrastructure improvements supported by this generous grant will increase the efficiency and sustainability of port operations and reduce our impacts on surrounding communities,” harbor commission President Bobby Olvera Jr. said in the release. “These critical projects will make the port stronger.”
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