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Work advances on $60M CSX rail terminal in Stowe, McKees Rocks

| Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
The Allegheny County’s Government Review Commission, which has met for the past year, will hold its final meeting March 29 but hopes to deliver its recommendations to council and county Executive Rich Fitzgerald before that.
Justin Merriman | Trib Total Media
The Allegheny County’s Government Review Commission, which has met for the past year, will hold its final meeting March 29 but hopes to deliver its recommendations to council and county Executive Rich Fitzgerald before that.

Long-awaited activity is under way at a 70-acre site along railroad tracks running through Stowe and McKees Rocks.

The Pittsburgh Intermodal Rail Terminal, a $60 million project of CSX Transportation, will allow crews to transfer stacked shipping containers from rail to trucks, and vice versa. CSX announced its plan in 2013.

“This terminal will not only help connect Western Pennsylvania's businesses to the global marketplace, but it will also help stimulate McKees Rocks' and Stowe's economies,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who attended a news conference with CSX executives Friday.

Site work started in September. First steps included clearing and grading the location, once a Pittsburgh & Lake Erie railyard.

Construction of the terminal, plus paving and track work, is expected to generate 150 jobs. The terminal is expected to employ 30 to 40 people when completed in 2017, and provide 150 indirect positions.

The site will have four tracks, three rubber-tired gantry cranes capable of stacking containers four-high, and four administration and operations buildings.

Intermodal freight networks often are billed as a faster, more environmentally friendly way to ship large amounts of goods than by highways. One double-stacked train of 100 to 140 cars can carry the equivalent of 280 trucks, limiting emissions and road wear from trucks.

The project does not carry a public financing component, company and county officials said, except for an approximately $1 million state grant that went toward improvements for an access road to the facility and an in-progress industrial site.

CSX has focused on intermodal capabilities for several years as part of its $850 million National Gateway project. The plan is designed to connect mid-Atlantic ports to Midwestern businesses and consumers. Public grants are matched by $575 million in private dollars, according to CSX.

In 2009, the company received a federal grant of $98 million toward clearing track paths in the mid-Atlantic to fit “double-stacked” containers, meaning two trucks stacked on top of each other.

In 2017, those trucks can be transferred from the railroad to highways at the facility here instead of the next-closest one near Toledo in northwest Ohio, eliminating drive time for certain routes.

“Together, we are making an investment here in Stowe Township and McKees Rocks that will transform an industrial space into a modern, state-of-the art facility,” said Clarence Gooden, CSX president.

Melissa Daniels is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8511 or mdaniels@tribweb.com.

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