- THE MAGAZINE
Two key projects that will significantly enhance intermodal efficiency at the Port of Tampa and improve the Port’s connectivity to its customers both within Florida and outside the State are advancing well. Construction is underway on the Tampa Gateway Rail project, adjacent to the port’s container terminal, and on the I-4 Connector project, which includes a dedicated truck ramp that will link truck traffic from the port directly to the interstate highway system.
Tampa Gateway Rail project — Completion: Fall 2012
Construction is well underway on the new Tampa Gateway Rail facility, an innovative, multipurpose rail terminal that will provide capacity for 100-car unit trains of ethanol arriving from the U.S. Midwest, while also establishing Florida’s only on-dock unit train rail service to the Port’s container terminal. The Tampa Port Authority’s major partners in the $10.9 million development are CSX Rail and Kinder Morgan. In addition to serving the energy sector, the new terminal and its 13,244 linear feet of rail infrastructure will be able to serve a range of general cargo opportunities. It also represents a major development in the Port’s container capability by providing direct on-dock access to the extensive CSX rail network.
Significant site work has already been performed, rails for the project have been delivered, and construction of storm treatment ponds is now underway, along with installation of transfer piping.
I-4 Crosstown Connector project — Estimated completion: late 2013
Construction is now over 60 percent complete on the I-4 Crosstown Connector project, a $568 million priority transportation initiative of the Florida Department of Transportation that will provide seamless direct access between the Port of Tampa, Interstate 4 and the national interstate highway system. This project will greatly enhance the Port’s connectivity to its customers in the Tampa/Orlando I-4 Corridor region and beyond. The west/central Florida region with a population of nearly 9 million people and welcoming over 50 million tourist visitors/year is a huge consumer market and home to the largest concentration of distribution centers in Florida. Currently, the port generates about 11,000 truck movements per day, with that number expected to increase to 15,000 per day over the next decade.
Bridge segments are being lifted into place and installed as part of this massive elevated interchange that will include dedicated truck lanes leading directly between the Interstate and the Port’s main gate.
“We are very pleased to see continued progress and investments on these extremely important projects, which will have lasting impact on the Port of Tampa, the region and the state of Florida. Both these major projects will greatly improve the Port’s reach to its customers and will be completed in advance of the Panama Canal expansion currently underway and the expanded trade opportunities that are expected to result,” said Richard Wainio, Tampa’s port director and chief executive.