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First Coast

FDOT Kicks In Another $35.3M To Deepen Jacksonville’s Harbor

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JAXPORT
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Work continues to deepen the Port of Jacksonville's waterway.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has awarded JAXPORT an additional $35.3 million in funding for the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project. 

The funding will be used in the second phase of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ contract B, which will deepen the project’s next 2.5 miles.

The state of Florida has so far contributed nearly $71.5 million toward harbor deepening.

JAXPORT said in an email to WJCT News that funding, combined with financial support from the federal government and a private tenant, helps keep the project two years ahead of schedule with anticipated completion in 2023, based on continued funding from all partners.

The Jacksonville Harbor Deepening project is divided into four segments, contracts A-D, which make up the full length of the 13-mile federally authorized project. The current funding model covers the project’s first 11 miles (contracts A, B and C).

Contractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are simultaneously working to complete contracts A and B, which will deepen a total of 8 miles. Contract A is scheduled to be completed in spring 2020, with contract B scheduled to conclude in May 2021.

That’s as the St. Johns Riverkeeper has sued in an attempt to block the deepening over concerns that it will lead to increased flooding and river salinity. The Riverkeeper has been disputing a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flooding analysis.  

Contract C will deepen an additional 3 miles to and at Blount Island and is entering the final design phase.

Deepening the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 ft. will allow JAXPORT to accommodate more cargo aboard the larger ships currently calling Jacksonville from counties in Asia—including Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand and more. JAXPORT’s Asian container trade is up 9% so far in fiscal year 2019, which began on Oct. 1, 2018.

“We are extremely grateful that FDOT continues to invest in JAXPORT, furthering our ability to positively impact the economy of our region and state,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green.

JAXPORT said a new economic impact study found that cargo moving through Jacksonville’s seaport generates more than 138,500 jobs across the state of Florida and $31.1 billion in annual economic output for the region and state.