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Construction begins on Brookhaven Rail Terminal

A Yaphank freight terminal that will receive rail deliveries of up to 500,000 tons of construction material a year is set to open next spring, said officials who broke ground on the project Tuesday.

The facility, Brookhaven Rail Terminal, will be located near Exit 66 off the Long Island Expressway and include a 3.4-mile commercial rail spur off the Long Island Rail Road.

The spur will allow trains to deliver aggregate - crushed or whole rock used in making concrete and asphalt - which will be loaded onto trucks for delivery to customers, Brookhaven Rail Terminal representatives said.

The company cited "a significant market for rail freight in Central Long Island" in a statement about Tuesday's groundbreaking.

Some residents initially balked at the rail spur proposal, but more recently civic leaders have spoken in favor of the project. Johan McConnell, president of the South Yaphank Civic Association, said there is a "tremendous environmental benefit" to rail transport over trucks.

The new terminal - which will cost about $22 million, split between Brookhaven Rail Terminal and U.S. Rail Corporation - will take the equivalent of up to 15,000 trucks off the road annually, a spokeswoman for Brookhaven Rail Terminal said.

Brookhaven Rail Terminal has contracted U.S. Rail to operate the terminal, which is located on a 28-acre site in Yaphank, company representatives said in a statement.

Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko has also spoken in favor of the rail spur, which he has said will "create a better environment for manufacturers" in Brookhaven.

The federal Surface Transportation Board approved the request to build the spur effective Sept. 20.

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