Keep ’em moving

Transporting military personnel and equipment from one site to another takes good planning.

It also requires the proper resources to ensure they arrive at their destination in a timely manner. Preparing for battle is no easy task, so getting everything where it needs to be is essential.

Advocates for Fort Drum have sought sufficient government funding to renovate the railhead on the post. In 2019, $21 million was allocated in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act for this project. And now an additional $10 million will be provided.

“Fort Drum’s current railhead is limited by spatial constraints, which makes it challenging to support operations during the harsh winter months,” according to a story published Dec. 22, 2019, by the Watertown Daily Times. “Fort Drum has limited capability in place to simultaneously load and unload trains for mobilization, so multiple missions must be staggered and delayed. Loading trains for deployment often forces Fort Drum to hold inbound trains miles away in the town of Watertown’s rail yard. The new railhead would improve loading operations by building 1.2 miles of new railroad loading tracks. The project also includes new ramps, a side loading area, protection measures from weather, improved lighting and a new Alert Holding Area, equipped with a cargo inspection building.”

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, and U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., have supported funding for this project. Stefanik and Schumer arranged to have the final $10 million made available to move the proposal forward. Structural Associates Inc., a Syracuse-based construction firm, received a $27.3 million contract Wednesday from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the new railhead.

This is an excellent development for Fort Drum and Northern New York. The project will further ensure the post’s value to the U.S. military in safeguarding our homeland. We commend all those who continue to promote Fort Drum as an integral part of our national security network.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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