Terminal, Expected to Open In 2012, Is Part of 2,500-Mile Rail Link Between NJ and Louisiana
Norfolk Southern has officially broken ground on the $97.5 million Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility, a freight link between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast.
The terminal, located on a 316-acre site near the Jefferson Metropolitan Park in McCalla, AL, is expected to open in late 2012. Norfolk Southern and Alabama state officials lauded the project, which is expected to create or enhance 8,600 jobs in central Alabama over the next 10 years, as a significant economic development win for the state.
The intermodal terminal’s capacity will grow to handle 165,000 containers and trailers annually. The terminal will deploy the latest in gate and terminal automation technology, which shortens the waiting time for trucks entering the terminal, improving driver productivity and air quality.
The facility is part of Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor, a program of independent projects and improvements aimed at creating a high-capacity 2,500-mile intermodal route from New Jersey to Louisiana that touches 26% of the nation's population and 30% of the nation's manufacturing output. It provides the shortest intermodal double stack route between the South and the Northeast.
When fully operational it will handle more rail freight traffic faster and more reliably, creating or benefiting more than 70,000 green jobs by 2030.
In 2010, the facility was selected to participate in the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) pilot program, a national initiative that seeks to establish and encourage sustainable practices throughout each phase of a landscape's design, construction, operation, and maintenance periods.
SITES is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the U.S. Botanical Garden, in conjunction with stakeholder organizations including the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Norfolk Southern will construct the main administrative building to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards.
The Crescent Corridor program of projects is estimated to cost $2.5 billion for full development. In addition to the McCalla facility, Crescent Corridor projects currently planned for development include new independent intermodal facilities at Charlotte, N.C., Greencastle, Pa., and Memphis, Tenn.; the expansion of the Harrisburg, Pa. intermodal terminal; and the addition of freight rail capacity in Virginia and Mississippi.
Editor's Note: This article is published in the current edition of In The Pipeline, CoStar Group's weekly column covering new development and construction. To receive the column every week by e-mail, join our distribution list.