Ports & Terminals

Arkansas Intermodal Facility Plans Studied

A study session for a conceptual plan for a possible intermodal facility in Crawford County, Ark., was held at a Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority (WAIA) meeting on January 10 at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. 

The report being studied offers three planning scenarios for a future intermodal facility. It was originally presented in April 2021 to the WAIA by Pickering Inc. and Moffatt & Nichol, an infrastructure advisory company. The WAIA is chaired by Arkansas state Sen. Matt Pitsch.

The three main concepts for the facility include a river-serviced multi-use port; rail- and river-serviced multi-use port; and a rail- and river-serviced container port. The first scenario would divert cargo from trucks to inland waterways. It allows for support of heavy cargo industries such as wind and project cargo, provides flex open storage for container and heavy cargo and provides river access to support the growth of an economic development area.

The second scenario would divert cargo from truck to rail and inland waterways. The third scenario would maximize land use in support of a container operation and would handle up to three shallow-draft vessels per week and minimize the cost of container-handling equipment.

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Pickering and Moffatt & Nichol earlier reported that a minimum viable concept that would only include a portion of the south area of the studied future site and the harbor would have an estimated cost of $78.5 million. The minimum viable concept includes development of the harbor and a portion of the south area–a paved area of 70 acres including 28 acres for container storage and 23 acres for empty containers. The estimated cost for development of the harbor is $22.8 million. The estimated cost for development of the south area site is $58.7 million.