After several years of planning, occasional controversy, and a lengthy construction process, the long-awaited BNSF intermodal opened its doors in late September. Its sounding bell was a train whistle last fall. Officials hosted a public, grand opening on Oct. 17.
During the ceremony, Chuck Burriss, general director hub and facility operations for BNSF, said the intermodal was in phase 2, and 65 percent of the volume has been transferred from Argentine to the Edgerton facility.
Beginning Nov. 1, the remaining Argentine intermodal traffic was routed to the BNSF intermodal in Edgerton and tothe Logistics Park Kansas City (LPKC).
LPKC is a more than 1,550-acre master-planned distribution and warehouse development anchored by BNSF’s newest intermodal facility.
The intermodal has been designed to accommodate the growing demands of freight rail transportation in the Kansas City region and will initially nearly double BNSF’s lift capacity in the Kansas City market. Currently, the intermodal facility encompasses 433 acres and has an initial lift capacity of 500,000 truck containers and trailers. It has the ability to expand to 1.5 million units.
“The intermodal facility is a tremendous asset for businesses in this region,” Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said during the grand opening. “This facility will not only create thousands of good jobs directly, it will help give Kansas businesses a competitive advantage in shipping their products to market quickly.
Kansas Department of Transportation secretary, Mike King, said Kansas’ central location makes the state idea for the transportation industry.
“We are uniquely situated in Kansas to serve as an important crossroads for goods traveling across the country by highway and rail,” he said during the grand opening. “When an economic opportunity like the intermodal facility emerges, and it can be seized by providing the appropriate infrastructure. I want our state’s transportation agencies to be in a position to capitalize on that opportunity.”
The state of Kansas invested more than $22 million to construct a highway interchange near the new facility. The Interstate 35 interchange at Homestead Lane will greatly assist in economic development, King said.
In addition to servicing the intermodal facility, the new roadway also provides highway access to the adjacent logistics park. The park, which currently, is home to three warehouse and shipping facilities. It is poised to add even more development in 2014.
The intermodal has six 8,000-foot tracks for loading and unloading intermodal trains, more than 1,800 parking spaces. It will have 4,300 container stacking spots at full build-out.
It is equipped with five wide-span, electric, rail-mounted gantry cranes, which produce zero emissions on site and will significantly reduce the number of hostler trucks needed to move containers within the facility.
The rail logistics hub also features an automated gate system for trucks as they enter and exit the intermodal facility, a biometric driver identification system and digital cameras to record images of containers, chassis and tractors. These elements will increase security, while improving throughput and reducing truck idling and emissions.
The business park has 500,000 square feet of speculative distribution building space available for warehouse and distribution centers.