Development: Today & Tomorrow
Accommodating the projected freight demand will be a major challenge. According to an American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recent report, “Transportation Reboot,” by 2020, trucks will move three billion more tons of freight nationwide than they haul today. This is another 1.8 million trucks on the road. And by 2035, add another truck for every two trucks on the road today.3 Given that over 730 thousand trucks4 carrying freight that could be converted to intermodal traveled roadways parallel to the Great Northern in 2008, more needs to be done to expand and utilize the Great Northern Corridor. Following are projects in partnership with our public partners who recognize the importance of the project to their state, region or community.
- West Vancouver Freight Access Project – The West Vancouver Freight Access project will create a unit train facility at the Port of Vancouver. The project will increase capacity for rail freight flowing through the port by rail to and from key markets across the U.S. Work is expected to be finished in 2010 on the Terminal 5 loop track providing rail switching, storage and throughput facilities for unit trains.
- Connect Oregon – Several freight rail projects funded by Oregon Department of Transportation’s “Connect Oregon” will improve the efficiency of freight rail in Oregon. Connect Oregon is a public bond-based initiative to improve Oregon’s transportation system through multimodal investments, other than highway, to ensure Oregon’s transportation system is strong, diverse, and efficient. The funded rail projects include BNSF’s Astoria Wye and East St John Siding projects. The Astoria Wye project improvements will support more than 10,000 carloads annually and reduce wait times for Amtrak and other trains, while increasing rail’s ability to handle traffic from the Port of Portland. The East St. Johns Siding Extension will provide more opportunities for trains to meet and pass in the heavily congested “Portland Rail Triangle.”
- CREATE – The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Project (CREATE) is comprised of over 50 rail and 25 grade separation projects to improve train operations on four freight rail corridors, including the TransCon and Great Northern, and a passenger rail corridor. This $2.5 billion project will restructure, modernize and expand existing rail facilities to improve freight and passenger mobility in and through Chicago while reducing negative environmental and social impacts.
- North Portland Junction – This American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project will speed trains moving between BNSF and Union Pacific railway, reducing overall delay and emissions in the Portland metro area while eliminating a significant point of congestion for the Port of Portland.
- Grade Crossing Closures – BNSF, as the industry leader, has closed over 5,000 crossings to date system-wide. Included in that total are over 440 crossings closed on the Great Northern. To learn more about grade crossing safety, visit BNSF.com.
4 2008 IHS-GI and Transearch Data