Rocla plant, manufacturer of railroad ties, ready to open in Fort Pierce

FORT PIERCE — Construction is completed at the plant that will supply railroad ties for All Aboard Florida’s Brightline train service.

Rocla Concrete Tie plant, 600 S. Third St., will have its grand opening 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Access to the grand opening is by invite only. Starting at 11 a.m., attendees can tour the 16,280-square-foot facility, where ties will be built for the $3.1 billion high-speed passenger railroad that would run between Miami and Orlando.

Rocla — of Lakewood, Colorado — is leasing the property from Florida East Coast Railway, a sister company of All Aboard Florida.

FEC trains would haul limestone from Miami-Dade County and granite from Georgia to the plant to mix with concrete to build the cross ties. Fort Pierce was chosen because it is halfway between Jacksonville and Miami, Robert Ledoux, FEC general counsel, told the Planning Board in June.

The concrete ties also will be sold to the Tri-Rail, CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads, officials have said.

The plant, which would be the first financial benefit the rail project provides to the Treasure Coast, would employ 42 full-time workers, earning an average annual wage of $44,000 plus benefits, the city said. It also would generate about $250,000 a year in city property taxes, according to the city, and $121.4 million and 392 jobs in Indian River County.

Brightline service between Miami and West Palm Beach — previously slated for early 2017 — has been pushed back to mid-2017, according to the company. The passenger trains would begin running through the Treasure Coast, on their way to Orlando International Airport, late next year, according to the company.

Keona Gardner of TCPalm

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