Thursday, August 12, 2010
Hearing on intermodal facility in Tennessee draws courteous crowd
By SUE WATSON
A crowd of about 100 turned out for public comment at the Collierville, Tenn., city hall, on the proposed construction of the Memphis Regional Intermodal Facility (IMF) at Rossville, Tenn.
The large project adjoins Marshall County.
Bill Mobley, executive director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, said that after a summary presentation of the environmental assessment connected with the proposed IMF, about 15 individuals stood to ask questions or make comments. About half of that number were for the construction and half against; those against it, for the most part, owned property near the proposed site, he said.
Concerns raised were what impact the facility would have on underground aquifers (waters) or the increase in traffic as a result of the new yard, Mobley said.
All commenters were polite and courteous, he said.
Mobley said consultants who did the environmental assessment said the area at the shipping yard would be compacted first with clay then overlaid with concrete. No toxic products are to be shipped in the sealed containers which will carry products used in the home such as cleaning solutions, experts said. And these solutions or household chemicals will be products packaged inside sealed containers ready to go on shelves and not bulk chemicals.
There have been very few spills of chemicals of this type across the country in the last five or six years, and they were very minor according to officials with the railroad, Mobley said.
The remainder of the public in attendance were believed to be there out of curiosity, he said.
Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation discussed how the IMF will link with truck traffic coming off major highway corridors - Tennessee Highway 57 through Rossville, Mississippi Highway 72, new I-69 and Mississippi Highway 302 and Tennessee Highway 385. Trucks will bring in shipping containers to the IMF and unload and reload with shipping containers to fan out to distributors and businesses.
For those concerned with traffic congestion on Highway 72 at the short two-laned segment near the Mississippi/Tennessee line, Mississippi Department of Transportation has scheduled the construction of four-lane at that segment for 2012.
“It all went real well,” Mobley said of the public hearing. “When somebody was against it, they were very polite.”
In summary, the assessment concluded:
• trains will save on costs to ship freight over long distances as each train can carry up to 280 truck loads of freight. Trucks will deliver freight locally or over short distances.
• domestic and internationally shipped freight will be transported in sealed containers. They are not opened until they reach their final destination.
• mileage on one ton of freight by rail is 457 miles per gallon.
• benefits of shipping by rail include fuel costs savings, reduced highway congestion from trucks, increased highway safety, environmentally safe transportation, and less maintenance costs to highways.
The potential impacts include disturbing 440 acres of a 650-acre tract with 330 acres for the rail yard and 233 acres paved, 76 acres for track and 71 acres for green space at a cost of $129 million.
No relocations of residences are expected.
The economic impact includes 140 new full-time jobs plus temporary construction jobs; $2.7 billion economic impact to the region by 2020; 6,186 new jobs by 2020; 23.8 millions of gallons of fuel saved a year; no adverse noise or air quality effects; and no archeological or historic sites or architecture disturbed. No species are threatened, no invasive species are expected, no visual adverse effects or hazardous material effects are expected.
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