No secret to anyone who lives here - shipping plays a major role in the economy of the Northland.  And that industry - and our area - is about to see a sizeable investment from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation recently announced $14 million in port development projects throughout the state.  As the largest freshwater port in the world, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority stands to receive a significant portion of those funds. The Twin Ports will see $7.4 million of that funding - money being used to facilitate two different projects.

Funding for all four projects throughout the state come from the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Port Development Assistance Program. Minnesota's share of the Port Development Assistance Program combines with federal, local, and private funding for a total ports construction program of $26.7 million.  While each project will accomplish different, specific goals - working together, they will "improve the statewide freight transportation system that supports growing industry and business".

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MNDOT's Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations Director Bill Gardner explains:

"Access to Minnesota ports is a vital part of Minnesota's multimodal freight transportation system.  The projects funded through this program maintain and expand critical commercial connections, promote local economic development at Minnesota ports, and support statewide jobs through expedited freight movement, including agricultural and other commodities."

MNDOT's $14 million investment will fund four different projects that are located throughout the state. Here's a break down of where the money is going and what it will be used for:

  • Duluth Seaway Port Authority - $5 million:  Repair and rebuild 1,175 feet of failing dock wall on Berth 11 at Clure Public Marine Terminal in Duluth.  Total project cost is $10.5 million.
  • Duluth Seaway Port Authority - $2.4 million:  Construct 112,500 square foot fabric warehouse with three concrete truck bays and three ten-foot by ten-foot garage doors, and an asphalt building foundation.  Total project cost is $5.3 million.
  • St. Paul Port Authority - $6.3 million:  Replace 1,460 feet of dock wall at St. Paul's Barge Terminal 2 with a new sheet pile dock wall supported by a new tieback system. Total project cost is $8.1 million.
  • Wabasha Port Authority - $300,000:  Construct a new Mississippi River barge terminal with access road, sheet pile dock face, steel pile pipe clusters, truck scale and field office.  Total project cost is $2.8 million.

To get details about the Port Development Assistance Program, click here.

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