Port of Beaumont Navigation District of Jefferson County, Texas● 1225 Main Street ● Beaumont, Texas 77701 ●● (409) 835-5367 ● (409) 835-0512 FAX ●
Online at www.portofbeaumont.com
Agreements spell growth for port and city
The Port of Beaumont’s $52 million ex-pansion program received a major boost inJuly with two agreements that will comple-ment the port’s projected growth and helpcity leaders with their push to redevelopdowntown Beaumont.Marking the end of a 15-year effort, theport signed agreements with three major railroad companies and the Texas Depart-ment of Transportation to begin transplant-ing a set of five railroad tracks betweenBeaumont City Hall and the Neches River toextend an existing rail yard within the port.Representatives of the three railroads—Burlington Northern & Santa Fe (BNSF),Kansas City Southern Railway and UnionPacific—joined port officials and local, stateand federal elected officials and their repre-sentatives for a signing ceremony at the porton July 28.The $16 million tab for the changes willbe covered by a mix of funding including $7million from the Federal Highway Admini-stration’s Congestion Mitigation Air Quality(CMAQ) funds, $5.1 million secured throughthe 2005 federal transportation bill by U.S.Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas).The port will contribute $4.8 million of itsown funds to cover design and constructioncosts.The project will greatly enhance theport’s rail infrastructure, providing more than350 additional railcar spares and tripling theport’s loading and unloading tracks. Thechanges will allow the port to better serviceits customers and provide new cargo growthopportunities.Though one track will remain, removingthe other tracks will free up about eightacres along the river. The city will then pressforward with plans to develop a riverfrontcommercial district as part of ongoing resto-ration and revitalization efforts in downtownBeaumont.
Pictured above at the signing ceremony are (seated, l. to r.) Port commissioner Nell Clark, board vice presidentHenry Nix and board president Pete Shelton. (Standing, l. to, r.) BNSF Railroad representative Larry Baker, GilWilson and Beaumont district engineer Howard Holland with the Texas Department of Transportation, Beau-mont city councilman W.L. Pate, Jefferson County commissioner Eddie Arnold, Texas state senator TommyWilliams, Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames, Jefferson County Judge Ron Walker, port commissioner Lee Smith,Jefferson County commissioner Bo Alfred, port commissioner Louis Broussard, Jr., Union Pacific Railroadrepresentative Owen Durkin, port board secretary-treasurer Georgine Guillory, Ron Bird with Kansas CitySouthern Railway, port director Chris Fisher and Brandon Steenson of Kansas City Southern.
A BNSF train lugs a load of windmill nacellesthrough the riverfront rail yard between Beaumont CityHall and the Neches River.
The city plans to develop a riverfront recrea-tion district in the rail yard’s place. The project willstretch the length of downtown and include a canaland small inlet seen in the artist’s rendering below(Image courtesy City of Beaumont)
David C. Fisher Director, Port of Beaumont
IN THIS ISSUE:
Ike strikes, Gustav missesand Edouard bluffs
Port hosts official visitors
Coast Guard gets ready
How to stack a vessel on avessel
Key plank of capital improvement program begins
Ike couldn’t dimSoutheast Texas’spirit to press on
Southeast Texas mayhave been bruised andbattered by HurricaneIke’s hard swipe morethan a month ago but thearea today is very much still in business.In the same manner as after hurricanes Ritaand Humberto, neighbors helped neighbors assoon as winds abated to jumpstart recovery.Piles of splintered trees and debris fromhomes and businesses continue to vanish astime passes. Essential services were restoredthroughout the region far sooner than initiallyexpected.Despite the hard work and quick progress,Southeast Texas still has quite a road to treadbefore things get closer to pre-Ike normal. Our thoughts and prayers are with those still strug-gling to recover in the hardest-hit areas of Chambers, Jefferson and Orange countiesand the entire stretch of the Gulf Coast pun-ished by Ike last month.The Port of Beaumont fared well during thestorm with only minimal damage and minor power and water interruptions. Those issueswere corrected in days and the port lent itsfacilities to massive rescue, relief and recoveryefforts launched during the storm’s aftermath.Essential staff weathered the storm at theport and others returned to work very soonafter to get port operations running againquickly and efficiently. Longshoremen, manyof whom suffered extensive water damage totheir homes, came to work just four days after the storm to unload cargo from one of the firstships to arrive in Southeast Texas after Ike.Those are just two examples of the “can-do”spirit in every Southeast Texan.