California port’s congestion-busting plan

Port of Long Beach HDR is managing the final design of the Port of Long Beach's Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility Project. Image: Port of Long Beach
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A California port is moving forward with its plan to streamline its rail operations, reduce cargo congestion and cut emissions from trucks.

The Port of Long Beach has selected HDR to undertake the final design of its US$870m Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility Project, which is expected to expand the port’s capability for loading shipping containers directly on rail cars instead of trucks. The expansion and reconfiguration of the existing Pier B railyard will create a staging area for loading freight trains nearly 2 miles long, eliminating thousands of local truck trips.

“This is visionary. This port is taking the lead in rail,” Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach executive director, said in his State of the Port address in January. “The delivery of containers to and from ships by train is the most sustainable and efficient way to move cargo in and out of the port. Each train eliminates as many as 750 truck trips, speeding the flow of goods and cutting traffic on roadways. Train is a big part of our green future.”

The City of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners last month approved the selection of HDR to lead design for the project, as well as tasks including site investigations, traffic studies, structural analyses, lighting analyses and programme sequencing.

HDR will work with subconsultant Moffatt & Nichol on the Pier B project, scheduled to be completed in three phases, with the first phase expected to be complete by 2024.

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