Orange County Branch Newsletter

September 2016

Transportation Technical Group

Port of Los Angeles


Author: Adrian Anderson, PE

On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 the American Society of Civil Engineers, Orange County Transportation Technical Group (ASCE OC TTG) hosted a presentation on the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) titled, “The Port of Los Angeles Highway and Rail Network”, at the University of Irvine’s University Club.  The meeting presenters were very well received with 45 attendees.

Mr. Guillermo Martinez, Jr., PE, POLA Senior Transportation Engineer, and Daniel Samaro, PE, MBA, POLA Transportation Engineer, discussed both railroad and highway network improvements in and around the Port.

The presentation began with the Port’s location and some interesting statistics:  7,500 AC size, 43 miles of waterfront, 26 miles of roadway, five on-dock rail yards, and a Capital Improvement Program of $199M for 2016.  The moniker, “America’s Port” is evident in its importance to the region, and Nation with the 177,000 jobs associated with POLA in LA and Long Beach, 1 million jobs statewide, and 2.8 million jobs nationally that are tied to the port.  The market share for POLA is also impressive at nearly 40% for the West Coast and just over 17% Nationwide, which is why it is easy to see why POLA is the #1 port in the USA since 2000.

There are many land uses within the POLA which are tied to the many highway projects that have been recently completed, including the C Street/I-110 ramp improvements, South Wilmington Grade Separation, and the John S. Gibson/I-110/SR-47 Connector project.  Maintaining the extensive roadway and highway network is becoming a higher priority for the POLA and they are looking to implement a Pavement Management Program.

The POLA rail network improvement goals include:  increasing on-dock rail usage, reducing the number of truck trips, maximizing doublestack unit train service, and building projects to improve network efficiency (such as grade separations and parallel rail lines). 

An interesting and innovative project was highlighted for the TraPac terminal.  A 5 year construction duration that concludes this summer with a cost of $510M for automating the rail yard operations. A wide-span crane is central to the automation and allows rail lines to be constructed in closer proximity as rail cars won’t be loaded by forklifts that require additional room to maneuver and load.  The crane would span 6 rail lines under the mid-section and up to 2 rail lines on the two outer sections to increase efficiency.

New rail projects in design include the West Basin Track Gap Closure (would provide a parallel rail line for rail yard operations) and in the conceptual phase are two projects:  Pier 400 Storage Tracks and Rail Bridge (5 tracks adjacent to Navy Way with a total length of 28,178 track feet with nearly 30,000 track feet of total construction), and a possible RMG Rail Yard project.

New roadway projects include SR-47/Vincent Thomas Bridge and Front St/Harbor Blvd interchange reconfiguration, Sampson Way improvements from 7th St to 22nd St (to support waterfront development), and various resurfacing projects due to the heavy truck usage.

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