Work on constructing the $4 million team track rail siding off West Main Street is “nearly 100 percent” complete.
That’s according to Darren Lamb, director of community and economic development, who told the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee Monday, that the only work the general contractor — Kolb Excavating — has left is to install the security fence around the site.
However, full completion of the project won’t come until Union Pacific Railroad completes the installation of a switch to shift train cars from the main track to the rail spur and vice versa.
A manual switch had been delivered to the site but the railroad company ordered a change in the specifications, Lamb said. Efforts are under way to get the different switch for the rail spur, he noted.
Lamb said the next step in getting the new facility up and running is to reach a lease agreement with an operator.
He said he sent letters to potential users of the facility and sought their input on how it should be operated.
The plan is to begin advertising the position this week, Lamb noted. He said he also is sending out requests for proposals to some people who have expressed interest in operating the facility.
“We want to send them out this week and request that they be returned between Dec. 17 and 21,” Lamb told The Missourian. The proposals and qualifications will be reviewed and a recommendation likely will be made to the city council in January, he said.
The operator would be responsible for making arrangements for companies to ship and receive materials at the team track.
Lamb said that a proposed operator’s lease will be modeled after the fixed base operator agreement at Washington Regional Airport.
The facility includes a 1,900-foot-long siding that could be expanded in the future. The siding, with a secure office building, was developed on a 4.4-acre lot at the end of West Main Street, adjacent to the Canam Steel plant.
As part of the project, the city would like to see railroad storage operations moved off of the siding at Front Street, between Stafford and the old freight depot.
In a recent meeting, Union Pacific officials agreed that a lot of that storage of railcars and other materials should be out at the new team track. Lamb said an area of the new facility is dedicated for that.
In addition to a $962,701 Economic Development Administration grant approved for the project, the city will receive an estimated $2,052,810 community development block grant through the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The city’s share of the project cost is $786,063.30.
CG Power Systems USA Inc, formerly Pauwels Transformers, needs the rail siding to be able to ship extra-large transformers it is manufacturing at its new plant in the Heidmann Industrial Park.
Canam is interested in utilizing the rail siding to ship a “new line” of bridge steel. Other companies also have expressed interest in utilizing the facility for rail shipments.
Lamb previously said that once the facility is completed, the first use of the team track may be for shipments of steel to the Canam plant.
The main purpose of the new team track is to attract potential industries to locate here and create jobs for the community.