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Port officials accept low bid from Kentucky firm

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CEO reports uptick in iron shipments

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

TELL CITY - Associated Railroad Contractors Inc., of Louisville, Ky., was the low bidder for work needed along the Hoosier Southern Railroad line with a proposal $20,000 under the engineer's estimate.

The Perry County Port Authority board of directors selected the company from among five bidding for track-rehabilitation work. Bids ranged from Associated Railroad's $145,000 to the $203,298 proposed by Timiny Railroad construction of Toledo, Ohio. The board voted at a regular meeting Aug. 12 to take the low bid under review and give Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Dick Neumann authority to proceed if the low bid survived examination by Chris Goffinet, attorney for the port-rail agency.

Neumann said Wednesday it did and Associated Railroad began moving equipment into the area and distributing ties by Sept. 1, as expected, for the Industrial Rail Service Fund work.

"We're seeing some slight improvement in car-loadings," Neumann said in his regular port-traffic report to the board. "We've moved from a tornado-warning status to a tornado-watch status." Port workers had loaded 33 cars of pig iron as of the meeting day, he explained. That wasn't a high number, but only 45 cars had been loaded in July, 38 in June, 30 in May and 44 in April, "so there is an uptick in the amount of pig iron going up the hill."

A national downturn in auto sales led to slowing of production in Perry County plants that support the industry.

Only one barge was projected for August, Neumann said, "however, I think we're going to have to see some pig-iron barge shipments in the near future. We talked to one supplier today and it looked like by mid-September we'll see maybe two or three barges of pig iron come in. The inventory is getting lower, so they're going to have to replenish it one of these days."

The national economic slump also led to other railroads wanting to store rail cars, some of which came to Hoosier Southern sidings. While their arrival has been slower than expected, Neumann said the customer had confirmed they still wanted to store 90 cars and 68 had been delivered.

The rehabilitation of an Anderson River bridge had been completed the previous Monday, Neumann also reported. It, too, was funded through the IRSF.

Board member Bill Goffinet asked about progress on a project to improve River Road so truck traffic can access the port directly from Indiana 66 rather than via Tell City streets. Board President Alvin Evans replied that he was awaiting scope-of-work documents from the Bernardin-Lochmueller engineering firm. Neumann said Wednesday they had arrived and were under review.