Savannah —- The Georgia Ports Authority on Tuesday broke ground on one of its largest-ever expansion projects, a new rail hub that officials say will connect the fast-growing Savannah port to Memphis, Chicago and other cities in the Midwest.
The $126.7 million Mason Mega Rail Terminal project is expected to eventually take some 200,000 big rig trucks off the state’s freeways – even as container traffic grows – helping to alleviate bottlenecks near the Garden City Terminal and reducing truck traffic on highways across Georgia. The project, which will open its first phase in fall 2019 with completion expected in 2020, will add 180,000 feet of rail on site.
The project, which connects to CSX and Norfolk Southern lines, will ultimately allow trains nearly 2 miles in length to be built on site, and allow trains to bypass surface crossings, alleviating traffic congestion to allow freight to be moved faster. The ports authority said it moved a record of nearly 4 million twenty-foot equivalent (TEUs) containers in fiscal year 2017, and the agency is working to double capacity over the next 10 years.
“This project is a game changer,” said GPA Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. “Our team estimates the Mason Mega Rail Terminal will slash rail time to the Midwest by a good 24 hours, and present a viable new option for many manufacturers, shippers and logistics professionals.”
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