By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)June 21, 2012
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Work has begun on a new entry point at Anniston Army Depot -- one meant specifically for ammunition rail cars.
The Lake Yard Interchange, which is slated for completion in the Spring of 2013, will move ammunition transportation via rail from the Turner Rail Yard, near Walker Arbor, to the far west side of the depot, near the tank farm.
"Relocating the ammunition related function of Turner Yard to the Lake Yard location will allow the 284-acre tract to be used for expansion of the ANAD industrial area and allow for new mission capabilities and possible future partnership opportunities," according to the Environmental Assessment published for the project.
The new rail spur will also enhance the safety of the Anniston Defense Munitions Center's rail operations.
"When ammo comes in by rail, this new spur will keep it from going by any areas populated by depot employees," said Gary Elam the rail leader for ADMC. "To me, the biggest benefit is safety."
Elam said ADMC receives two to four trains of ammunition each year and the new rail yard will benefit the organization not only in safety, but also in getting the munitions secured quickly.
"The new rail yard will improve the speed of our operations and the safety of employees on the depot," said Lt. Col. Randall DeLong, ADMC's commander. "The more space we have to work with, the more quickly we can move things. The quicker we can store the munitions, the safer it is for everyone."
In March, the Corps of Engineers awarded the $2.7 million construction project to Southeastern Construction, according to Tim Smith-Lindsey, project engineer with the depot's Directorate of Public Works. Already, much of the land clearing needed for the 3,100 linear feet of track has been performed and the foundation begun for the rail yard's 1,000 square-foot administration building.
Vegetation and dirt weren't the only things removed from the site of the new rail spur. Before clearing could begin, more than 20 tanks and howitzers were moved from their resting place along the fence line to another storage area.
The equipment, none of which was operational, is property of the U.S. Army Center of Military History and is in storage for historical purposes. DPW's Roads and Grounds crew assisted with the relocation.