Sunday, October 17, 2021
Oct. 17, 2021

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Rising construction costs hit Port of Longview projects

Filler material test, parking lot work see higher price tags


LONGVIEW — Rising construction costs affected several Port of Longview projects the commission approved Wednesday.

The port will pay $316,000 to do a test of how filler material will react near the site of the planned Industrial Rail Corridor expansion. Director of Facilities and Engineering Bill Burton said the port will take about 15,000 cubic yards of sand and truck it to a designed location adjacent to the Industrial Rail Corridor. There will be plates under the sand that measure how fast and far it settles.

“We’ll use that to better determine what our soil conditions will be when we build our Industrial Rail Corridor expansion,” Burton said. “That will better feed our estimates and our design.”

The project originally was budgeted at $300,000, but rising material and labor costs pushed it higher, Burton said. The commission approved the change.

The White House north parking lot project also was approved for $205,000, a slightly higher cost than budgeted after Commissioner Jeff Wilson suggested adding more electrical conduits to ensure there is additional capacity for future electric bikes and vehicles.

Currently, the parking lot is poorly drained, with an outdated traffic flow and parking pattern and not enough lights, Burton said.

Future work will raise and regrade the parking area to let water flow into new stormwater catch basins and ditches, as well as add concrete walkways, new pavement and striping and new light posts. There will be two accessible parking spaces.

In a public comment, Diane Dick asked the port about adding covered parking spaces and putting solar panels on top. Wilson said he was interested in solar, but worried about the cost. He said it could be added later on.

Strategic business plan

The commissioners also reviewed an updated draft of the port’s strategic business plan. This draft included cost ranges for the three alterative expansion options the commissioners previously decided to move forward with. The intention is not to start building right away, but to have ideas to show potential customers.

The first alternative would maintain a base level of port operation and includes track changes at the northwest curves of the current rail line and silo demolition to improve rail connections.

The pros of that alternative would be it would not impact any existing customers, port maintenance buildings would not need to be relocated, the port would keep a 49.6-acre general cargo backland area and no grade separation of trains and roads would be required. However, without any new expansion of rail or planning for a new tenant at Berth 4, that means the option would have a lower overall tonnage option.

That would cost between $8.3 million and $14.3 million in 2022 prices.

The next option would create “side-by-side” rail loops by redeveloping the western track. The pros are allowing a higher overall tonnage compared to existing capabilities, having eight berths overall including three unit train berths and the capacity to accommodate 7,700-foot trains and adding some capacity to current customers.

That plan also assumes a new tenant at Berth 4. However, the port would need to buy some private land, move the port maintenance and mechanic shops, and would lose 8.2 acres from the current general cargo storage area. It would cost an estimated $150.6 million to $226.4 million in 2022 costs.