J.B. James Construction Co. LLC of Baton Rouge has been contracted by the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission for a $5.98 million rail project.

Port commissioners awarded the 210-day project to J.B. James late Thursday.

The plan by Cortney White, the port’s engineering and security director, includes replacement of more than 5,000 linear feet of rail at the port.

Nearly 5,000 more linear feet of rail will be added to port property in order to handle growing shipments of supplies and products, said Executive Director Jay Hardman.

Hardman explained in committee meetings March 25 that the rail replacement and expansion project will involve new rail segments that weigh at least 115 pounds per yard.

Existing port rail segments weigh 80 to 90 pounds per yard and are approximately 40 percent too light to accommodate increasingly heavy rail cars, Hardman added.

Hardman said all construction will be conducted on port property and is not expected to affect street and highway traffic in the vicinity of the maritime facility in Port Allen.

Because port tenants are continuing to expand their storage and shipping businesses, Hardman said, additional onsite rail lines will be needed in about two years.