The opening of an intermodal rail container transfer facility at the Port of Everglades came closer to fruition after a county board of commissioners approved a 30-year deal with the Florida East Coast Railway.
The Broward County Board of Commissioners' approval of the facility lease and operating agreement paves the way for the $72 million project. The terminal, which will eliminate the need for trucks to haul containers to and from off-port rail terminals, is expected to open in early 2014.
The FEC plans to relocate its existing domestic intermodal service from its Andrews Avenue rail yard to the ICTF at Port Everglades. Once completed, the ICTF is expected to reduce congestion on interstate highways and local roadways and reduce harmful air emissions by diverting an estimated 180,000 trucks by 2027.
Port Everglades took the first step towards developing the terminal last July when the Florida Department of Transportation broke ground on the Eller Drive Overpass, which will elevate I-595/Eller Drive to allow the freight trains to access the southern side of the port at ground level.
The overpass project is expected to be completed by late-2013 at a cost of $53 million. The lease between the county and the FEC was a prerequisite for the railway to secure a $30 million loan from the Florida State Infrastructure Bank.
FDOT is expected to make a final decision later this year. The remaining costs will be covered by the FEC and FDOT grants.