Ports & Terminals

Dock Upgrade Nears Completion At America’s Central Port

The project to revitalize the general cargo dock at America’s Central Port will be the first project completed under Illinois’ new Competitive Freight Grant Program.

America’s Central Port is located on the Upper Mississippi River at Granite City, Ill. It features two multi-modal harbors: the Granite City Harbor, a slack-water harbor just north of Locks 27 handling 2,500 barges per year; and the new Madison Harbor, just south of the locks, providing open-river barge navigation to the Gulf of Mexico.

The federally funded Competitive Freight Grant Program is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). It is the first time in Illinois’ history that funds have been specifically designated for freight projects.

The program, which requires a 10–20 percent funding match on the part of the awardee, has awarded a total of $245 million in grants for 23 projects in ​program years 2018–2022. These projects include roadway reconstruction, grade separation, intermodal infrastructure, port improvements, technology deployment, truck parking, and interchange construction.

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The project at America’s Central Port is designed to increase last-mile efficiency, reduce freight truck bottlenecks within the port and enhance the intermodal connectivity of the port’s Granite City Harbor. The project is expected to increase daily freight traffic by 60 percent, where an estimated 1.5 barges will be loaded each day, removing 31,500 long-haul trucks from the road each year.

This project consists of upgrading the general cargo dock, which plays an integral role in the overall movement of approximately 3.4 million tons of steel, general cargo and dry bulk fertilizer each year. The complete scope of the project includes resurfacing the dock with an 18-inch reinforced concrete pavement that will meet the needs of intermodal cargo transfers, as well as enhancing the drainage system where cargo is transferred between barges, railcars and trucks. In addition, approximately 450 feet of intermodal rail track will be upgraded to a larger rail section, and a new crossing surface will be installed along the length of the dock.

The project was awarded $1,092,130, with a $275,000 match on the part of the port.

As a result of this much needed improvement to the dock surface and rail tracks, SCF Lewis & Clark Terminals LLC—the barge and harbor operator at the port—is making significant additional investments.

“We are excited to announce the purchase of a state-of-the-art Sennebogen hydraulic crane that will vastly improve loading times of trucks and railcars,” said Brice Power, general manager of SCF Lewis & Clark Terminals. “In addition, SCF Lewis and Clark Terminals LLC has approved the upgrade to the conveying system currently used to load trucks and railcars with a larger and faster conveying system.

“Together, America’s Central Port and SCF are looking to the future to serve the needs of our customers with better and more reliable services.”