Pier B rail project’s first round of tracks to come a year early

The Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility, an $870 million project launched a decade ago, will be wrapping up its first arrival, departures and storage train tracks a year early in 2024, the Port of Long Beach announced during a virtual public meeting Wednesday.

Deputy Chief Harbor Engineer Mark Erickson, who led the meeting, said that staff are trying a “more aggressive approach” in an attempt to work faster and save money on construction costs as they are projected to increase with time, he said.

The project, which is broken up in different timeline phases, is finishing its design phase. Next officials will move forward with acquisition, which means relocating existing businesses that stand in the way of construction plans.

With this rail project, encompassing about 171 acres, the port plans to reconfigure, expand and enhance the existing Pier B rail facility located southwest of West Anaheim Street and the 710 Freeway increase on-dock rail transportation of containers filled with goods.

More tracks will begin operating in 2030, followed by project completion in 2031, according to the port.

Currently, 28% of cargo that passes through the port is via rail, and they aim to reach 35%. The project would eliminate 750 truck trips for each full train, the port estimates, which would help reduce truck pollution and traffic congestion.

In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, the Board of Harbor Commissioners, which oversees the port, approved the environmental analysis of the project in January 2018.

So far, the port has received $26.3 million in grants from partners including the Metro, Caltrans and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The next meeting update for the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility will take place in December.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to show that the completion date is predicted to be 2024.

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Crystal Niebla is the West Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with the Post. If you want to support Crystal's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at lbpost.com/support.