Union Pacific announces $200 million expansion

Deidre Cruse, Governmental Reporter

Union Pacific Corp. announced last week a $200 million expansion of its South Louisiana operations to meet the needs of   petrochemical plants along the Mississippi River.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Union Pacific Corp. Chairman James R. Young made the announcement in Addis.

The expansion includes a new support yard in St. James Parish; an additional 29 miles of track from Livonia to Addis, providing dual lines for greater capacity, and the addition of more staging slots in Livonia.

The three projects will create 225 direct jobs, 502 indirect jobs and 1,500 construction jobs, the officials said.

??The 225 new direct jobs will pay an average of $45,000 a year, plus benefits. Union Pacific already has hired 43 people for them.

Based in Omaha, Neb., the Fortune 500 Company expects to complete the railroad expansion by the end of 2012.

“Rail lines are the backbone of the chemical and manufacturing industries in Louisiana, and Union Pacific's expansion will allow the railroad to better serve key plants along the Mississippi River from Livonia to Avondale. Recent economic development wins, like SNF and NuStar Energy, are creating more demand for Union Pacific,” Jindal said.

The support yard in St. James Parish will enable growth for existing and anticipated customers in St. James Parish and the Donaldsonville area. It will reduce train delays, increase fluidity, and enhance performance.

The track from Livonia to Addis will run alongside the existing Union Pacific line, adding capacity and reducing delays.

The Union Pacific expansion is in addition to the company's maintenance of more than 1,100 miles of track in Louisiana.

Last year, the company spent $56 million on capital improvements related to those maintenance efforts in the state, and Union Pacific spent another $24 million on in-state purchases during 2011.