Alaska Railroad advancing plans for its Seward port

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SEWARD, Alaska — The Alaska Railroad anticipates making a decision this summer on how to expand its freight and passenger docks in the Gulf of Alaska port city of Seward.

The Seward City News reports the results of a two-year study presented at a public meeting on Tuesday showed replacing and expanding the passenger dock to be a top priority. Cruise ships are scheduled to call on Seward at least 60 times this year tying up on one or both sides of the West Dock where passengers headed for Anchorage, Alaska, are met by trains and local buses.

Earlier projects at the railroad-owned Seward Marine Terminal separated freight from passenger traffic by moving freight activity to the adjacent East Dock. The railroad also delivers export coal loaded aboard ships by a slender conveyor dock.

The West Dock, built after a 1964 earthquake and tsunami destroyed it and heavily damaged the port, is at the end of its useful life, according to the railroad. Past port upgrades have benefited from public funding, and the current $3 million planning effort includes a $2.5 federal TIGER IV grant and a $500,000 local match from the Alaska Railroad.

Once a decision preferred options is made, final planning is expected to take 18 months before construction begins.

The Alaska Railroad runs 470 miles from Seward to Fairbanks in the Alaskan interior passing through Anchorage and stopping at Denali National Park. It operates year-round seeing its heaviest passenger traffic during the May to September high season for tourists.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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