Intermodal dock to offer opportunities
SOUTH POINT — There’s a gravel path leading to two skyscraper-looking cylinders sticking out of the Ohio River. From the Kentucky side the structure has an almost extra terrestrial look.
But once the dock for the intermodal transfer station at The Point industrial park is up and running, it will be definitely of this earth, bringing the potential of increased commerce into Lawrence County, whether by truck, barge or rail.
“When this is opened, you can drive right down to the pier,” Jeremy Clay, director of The Point, said. “A truck can come in and drive on the dock. Then a crane will cycle either way taking out product onto the barges.”
Right now, crews from Southern Marine in Chattanooga, Tenn., are installing tie rods inside the cells to provide support for the boom crane that can handle a maximum of 300 tons.
When the cells are stabilized, their surface and the path leading up to them will be filled with hundreds of thousands of stones creating the roadway and crane platform for this phase of the intermodal.
The face of the proposed dock is 96 feet wide while the access road on the industrial park side is planned to be 200 feet wide. From the park to the edge of the dock is 190 feet.
“The dock is way above the flood plain and high water marks and the river elevation will not prohibit the use of the dock,” Clay said.
Targeted completion date for this phase is scheduled for the end of July. However, the severe winter has slowed work.
“This will give manufacturers and industry in our region the opportunity to have a logistical advantage inside the industrial park to produce and move large fabricated items,” Clay said. “It will give a great opportunity to the county to recruit other types of industry.”
One of the main features of the intermodal facility with the dock is it allows products of massive size to be moved where transport by rail or road would be prohibitive.
“With a dock like this you can really transport product of any size or any weight,” Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, said. “This is offering opportunity for companies manufacturing very large machinery, huge transformers. The uses can go on and on for those kinds of products.
“This will be southern Ohio’s only public dock. … Most ports are captive, held by a single company. They are not normally interested in helping competitors to get product on the river. We believe maritime travel will be the major technique used for container delivery. This will be the portal for all of southern Ohio, eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia.”