The Minnesota Department of Transportation said it has awarded a total of $5 million to four projects that support freight movement on the state’s waterways, in the latest distributions through its Port Development Assistance Program.
The announcement noted that Minnesota’s commercial ports, located on Lake Superior for deep-water freighters and on the Mississippi River for barge operations, connect businesses to markets across the country and around the world.
The DOT has distributed $35 million in such grants since the state in 1994 established that port program.
MnDOT said the $5 million in new state awards will help leverage local and private funding for a total construction program of $8 million.
“One of Minnesota’s strongest assets when it comes to economic development is its infrastructure,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle.
He added: “The projects selected under this competitive program best demonstrated local government’s willingness to invest in the transportation system and the private sector partners’ commitment to job creation.”
The largest award of nearly $2.3 million goes to the deep-draft Duluth Seaway Port Authority on Lake Superior to provide for additional vessel mooring and storage area, allow for dredging to full seaway depth and stabilize failing timber and concrete dockage. The project with a total cost of $4.4 million will also help support the recently opened Duluth Intermodal Terminal.
MnDOT said a $1.818 million grant will help the St. Paul Port Authority on the Mississippi install a rail spur extension, rehabilitate a connecting rail spur and pave a reinforced loading/unloading pad in the Southport Terminal.
The $2.5 million project is a piece of the larger Southport Terminal Intermodal Improvement Project there, MnDOT said, and will ultimately reduce the cost of freight transportation and facilitate more intermodal movements at the site.
Another grant for $454,876 will help the Wabasha Port Authority build a new barge terminal, a project MnDOT said will include dredging the access channel and using dredge cut material to raise elevation to create a five-acre terminal pad and access road.
It said that project “will significantly increase opportunities for river freight users in the area that must truck to/from the Twin Cities for river access.”
And MnDOT awarded the Winona Port Authority a grant of $454,512 to help install new paved drives, retention ponds and reinforced concrete piping and inlets designed to direct stormwater into retention ponds. “It will improve conditions by reducing dust and improving the efficiency of truck movements within the property and redirecting surface water more efficiently,” the department said.
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