Port Of Muskogee Awarded $5.8 Million BUILD Grant
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the Port of Muskogee (Okla.) as one of its 14 port grant recipients on December 7. The grant, known as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program, formerly known as TIGER grants, totaled $5,789,210 and will go toward several improvement projects.
The projects include constructing rail and road access improvements at the Port of Muskogee, including track upgrades, expansion and realignment to meet current Class I railroad safety standards; State Highway 16 highway-rail grade crossing modernization; and approximately 9,700 feet of additional track to expand the capacity of the existing marshalling yard.
“This is great news for Muskogee and the port,” said Scott Robinson, port director. “Modern rail access for manifest and unit train service will ensure the continued growth and success of the Port of Muskogee for years to come. This grant will also allow the Port of Muskogee to retain its manufacturing and logistics base, support local industry expansion and attract new industry, all of which brings private investment and quality jobs to Muskogee, the state and the nation.”
Robinson said that the grant money will support the port’s Rail Access and Safety Initiative project to modernize rail access by constructing a new turnout where the port’s railroad lead track connects with the UP Cherokee Subdivision main track; realigning the port lead track to access the UP going north (versus the current arrangement which provides access to UP going south); achieve less stringent track curvature of 7 degrees and 30 minutes on the port lead track; and relocating a high-risk highway/rail grade crossing with State Highway 16 to develop a crossing with new active warning devices, crossing surface and enhanced sight distance that will improve safety.
In addition, the port’s existing marshalling yard tracks would be extended, adding much needed capacity to stage, store and switch railcars and trains. Robinson said the project also addresses safety concerns and current and projected rail access vulnerabilities within the port.
“Transportation serves an important role in rural America and that remains so in northeast Oklahoma,” said Robinson. “This grant will allow for rail capacity and efficiency to be secured at the port for the long-term future; multimodal cost advantages for rail to barge transportation will continue; and the port will be capable of securing industrial prospects, thus enhancing the global reach for a rural area and the United States.”