Tribune-Courier General Manager
The Marshall County-Calvert Riverport Authority Board voted last week to seek a permit for a rail spur linking the port to the Paducah & Louisville double track main line.
The proposed two-mile spur will link the Calvert City Riverport to a bulk carrier and provide intermodal access to a Class II railway, something the board says is vital to the future of industrial development in Marshall County.
The board had met last week prior to Friday’s vote in a closed executive session for the purpose of negotiations with a privately held company for what Marshall County Economic Development Director Josh Tubbs called a “significant project that would move forward a plan set in motion years ago.”
Tubbs would not elaborate further on who the company is, but did say the vote to move forward on the rail spur was a key negotiating factor with the company.
“A rail spur allows us to implement the trimodal port facility we’ve been planning for many years,” said Tubbs. “It will connect our waterways, railroad and interstate transportation.”
ICA Engineering of Paducah has consulted with the Riverport Authority to draft the permit application. Matt Brawley of ICA told the board it could take at least six months to obtain permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Kentucky Division of Water.
Once approved, the board will have five years to begin the project.
Brawley said the application includes engineering design for 30 percent of the rail line, which satisfies the application requirements of the Corps and the Division of water.
He said the next step in the process would be the purchase of land on which options are currently held by the board.
“We all know in order to have a viable port we must have a railroad whether it’s this year or five years from now,” said Mike Miller, Marshall County Judge Executive. “Before we can do that we need a permit. It’s a no-brainer to me that we need to move forward. As things develop I’m hopeful, and I’m being optimistic, that in the five-year period we could have a railroad in.”