HUNTS POINT — A new rail facility, an additional railroad track and improved rail spurs should pull into The Hunts Point Produce Market over the next few years as part of a $22 million renovation project.
The development — a collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation — is meant to increase the market's rail storage capacity, reduce conflicts between trains and trucks and enhance safety.
Workers started to repair the market's spurs over the summer, and the EDC expects to begin construction on the new facility by this coming summer.
Improvements to the spurs should be finished by early 2016, while the new facility should be finished by the fall of 2016.
The new facility is meant to make it easier to transfer produce from rails to trucks and cut down on the amount of conflict between the two types of vehicles, according to EDC spokesman Ian Fried.
Rail cars and trucks both park by the rear docks of the market's warehouse buildings, which can lead to congestion conflicts, but a dedicated facility for rail should result in less competition for the same loading docks, he said.
Workers will also rehabilitate rail spurs along three of the market's buildings to help make unloading rail cars into the warehouses an easier task. They will construct a new double lead track to help increase delivery and staging space for trains and allow produce transfers to occur directly from rail cars to trucks.
In 2014, an average of six rail cars per day came to the market, and rail deliveries accounted for roughly 6 percent of the overall produce it received.
There is no specific estimate for how much impact the EDC project would have on the amount of train deliveries, although it would enable the market to accept significantly more rail cars, according to Fried.
The extra track should allow for the delivery of roughly twice as many rail cars at once, he said.
The produce market is already one of the largest rail users east of the Hudson River, and the project aims to help it receive even more deliveries by train.
“The rail improvement project has been progressing very well," Hunts Point Produce Market Cooperative spokesman Michael Loughran said in a statement.
"Once the project is complete, these upgrades will help streamline and improve our receiving process — benefiting the millions of New Yorkers who rely on the market for their produce needs.”