• Fort Greely, AK

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by RailVet
http://newsminer.com/view/full_story/56 ... left_top_1

Delta Junction applauds railroad extension
by Christopher Eshleman
24 Jan 2010

FAIRBANKS — Delta Junction smiled on last week’s federal approval of a long-discussed railroad track extension between its city and the Railbelt.

The 1,000-person city serves a larger 5,000-resident area. Leaders there view the proposed extension, which would rely heavily on the federal government for construction funding, as a way to expand trade prospects.

“We view it as a substantial investment in regards to improving the efficiency of operations at Fort Greely (Army post) and the U.S. Army Donnelly Training Area,” said Courtney Durham, president of the city’s chamber of commerce. “We also see tremendous potential for agricultural producers in our area in terms of bulk import and export of commodities like fertilizer, grain, vegetables and livestock.”

The state-owned Alaska Railroad Corp. plans to build a $100 million road-and-rail bridge across the Tanana River this summer as the first stage in the four-phase project to reach Delta Junction.

That crossing would begin near Salcha. The railroad’s proposed expansion would eventually need to cross a second major waterway at Delta, where the Delta Junction City Council has asked the railroad to build, if possible, across Jarvis Creek. The route approved earlier this month by the federal Surface Transportation Board follows that request, said Mike Tvenge, the city administrator in Delta.

“I think this would be a tremendous boost to our community and the state,” Tvenge said last week.

The railroad has yet to ask the city how it might help the corporation prepare for what would amount to a $700 million project, Tvenge said.

The transportation board’s decision to approve the proposed project’s environmental blueprints was split. One of three members said he’d sought stronger justification for an expensive link to Delta, a city of only 1,000.

Both Durham and Tvenge noted the surrounding area is much larger, and Durham, also a real estate agent, said agricultural development and other development have created “momentum that results in additional jobs and opportunities outside of the usual government and military spending.” She said a railroad link would anchor and expand various markets in Delta.