Construction is expected to begin next month on a long-awaited rail-truck transloading facility in Des Moines that will provide shippers with new options for shipping raw materials and other goods in and out of Central Iowa. The planned facility east of downtown will offer access to three major railroads — BNSF Railway Co., Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railway — as well as the regional Iowa Interstate Railroad. 

“We’re at the finish line,” said Rita Conner, the city’s economic development director, who said a construction contractor to build the facility is expected to be announced early next week, with construction planned to begin in August. 

The city’s due diligence process for approving the sale of the land was complicated. Before the transaction could be completed, a competitor for the transloading contract — Merchants Distribution Service in Des Moines — raised concerns in 2016 after the selection of the Omaha-based owner, Steven Braithwaite, who will own and operate the facility as Des Moines Transloading LLC. 

The allegations involved the safety and environmental records of several rail-service related companies Braithwaite owns and operates in Omaha, and were detailed in a private investigator’s report that Merchants Distribution gave to city officials. 

Continue reading to learn more about the development. Read more (Insider)