Mike Brown, Borough Manager
350 East Dahlia Avenue
Palmer, Alaska 99645
For questions about the Alaska Railroad, contact:
Stephenie Wheeler, Public Involvement Officer
Alaska Railroad Corporation
327 West Ship Creek Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Phone: (907) 265-2671
For construction questions, contact:
David Kabella, Senior Project Manager
Alaska Railroad Corporation
327 West Ship Creek Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 265-2205
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough (MSB) and the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) jointly propose construction and development of a new rail line to connect the Borough’s Port MacKenzie to ARRC’s rail belt. The Port Mackenzie Rail Extension involves 32 miles of additional rail line from Port MacKenzie to the ARRC mainline south of Houston, Alaska. Following the Environmental Policy Act review, the Surface Transportation Board authorized ARRC to build the new rail line in December 2011. Construction on the first of six construction segments began in 2012.
The Port Mackenzie Rail Extension is a 32-mile rail line in the Susitna River Valley. The rail line travels north from the port facility and connects to the existing rail system near Houston. The new rail line is an extension of the ARRC system, which currently connects ports in Seward, Whittier, and Anchorage with Interior Alaska, including Denali National Park, Fairbanks, and North Pole. The Matanuska Susitna Borough is the operator of Port MacKenzie, project sponsor, and co-manager of the project.
In 2007, the total project cost was $305.5 million. To date, the Borough has secured $121 million in state legislative funding, which includes a $30 million General Obligation Bond.
No federal funds were used for this project.
This 4.9-mile segment begins at the embankment of the Bi-Modal Bulk Facility (BMBF) of Port MacKenzie and proceeds northwest to a quarter mile south of Baker Farm Road, where it turns and heads directly north. It stops shortly after crossing the 3-span Baker Farm Bridge at MP (Milepost) K5.48.
This 7.1-mile segment continues north of Baker Farm Road through the Point MacKenzie Agricultural Project. It diverges northwest from Baker Farm Road and runs parallel to Guernsey Road until ending at agricultural district boundary at MP K12.7. A terminal reserve area to facilitate the arrival and departure of trains will be constructed in this segment.
This 7.7-mile segment begins at the agricultural district boundary at MP K12.7 and continues north through an at-grade crossing of Ayrshire Avenue near the Guernsey Road/Ayrshire Avenue intersection. This segment continues northwest around the northeast end of My Lake, then curves back northeast, crossing the 5-span bridge at the outflow of Diamond Lake and the historic Iditarod Trail 3-span bridge. It intersects the Iditarod Race Trail 3-span bridge at MP K17.95, loops northwest and then northeast before heading straight north across the Susitna Parkway at-grade crossing, ending near Papoose Twins Road.
This 7.4-mile segment would proceed northeast from near Papoose Twins Road through slightly rolling terrain with areas of wetland. The segment passes between East Papoose Twins Lake and Crooked Lake, with the last 4 miles of the segment going through a gradually rising plain near the northern shore of Muleshoe Lake.
This 4.2-mile segment begins on the northern shore of Muleshoe Lake and continues northeast, passing Houston Lake Loop Trail, Horseshoe Lake, a private access road, and MEA power lines to Miller’s Reach Road at MP K31.83.
This segment begins at Miller’s Reach Road and ties into the ARRC Mainline near Houston without crossing the Parks Highway. The segment includes construction of approximately 1.8 miles of new railroad embankment, widening 2.9 miles of existing main line railroad embankment, and installing a new 118-foot railway bridge adjacent to an existing railway bridge over the Little Susitna River. This connection will facilitate the movement of trains both northbound and southbound in a Y configuration.
The MSB and the ARRC will continue to update interested parties throughout construction of the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension.
Meeting notices will be posted on this website, so please visit frequently.
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) defines consultation as “the process of seeking, discussing, and considering the views of other participants, and, where feasible, seeking agreement with them regarding matters arising in the Section 106 process” (36 CFR 800.16.f). Under Section 106, consulting parties can provide input to federal agencies when a project involving federal action, approval, or funding may affect properties that qualify for the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of historic properties. The goal of consultation is to identify historic properties potentially affected by the project, assess these effects, and seek ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse effects to these properties.
Consulting parties are identified throughout the Section 106 process. Federal agencies such as STB must consider and respond to all written requests for participation as a consulting party. The following parties generally have consultative roles in the Section 106 review process: the State Historic Preservation Officer, Tribes, representatives of local governments, and project applicants. Additional consulting parties with a demonstrated interest in the project can be included on a case-by-case basis. Consulting parties, once defined as such, are entitled to sharing their views on historic properties and effects to those properties, receive and review pertinent information, and consider possible resolution to effects on historic properties with the federal agency and other consulting parties.
For individuals and organizations interested in becoming a Consulting Party to the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension Project per Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, click here.