JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Mile Point dredging project has taken a critical step in moving forward.
The Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday that the Chief of Engineer's Report has been approved for the Jacksonville Harbor (Mile Point) Navigational Study, which will move the project along to Congress so the funding can be approved.
The project's estimated total cost is $36.5 million, according to a release from the Army Corps of Engineers. Sixty-five percent of that money will be federal funding and 35 percent of that will be non-federal funding.
"This is a tremendous milestone for this project," said Jerry Scarborough, chief of the Water Resources Branch.
Currently, vessels that have a transit draft greater than 33 feet inbound and 36 feet outbound are restricted in traveling through Mile Point, which is where the St. Johns River and the Intracoastal Waterway meet.
The recommended plan will improve flow in nearby Chicopit Bay, restore Great Marsh Island, and reconfigure the training wall near Mile Point, according to the report.
Congressman Ander Crenshaw, a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said the project will help Northeast Florida's economy.
"The safe and efficient movement of cargo vessel traffic through Mile Point is central to the current and future economic prosperity of JAXPORT and the region," said Crenshaw in a release from his office.
"Approval of the Chief Engineer's Report helps move that project ahead. I look forward to reviewing the specific details of the report and working together for solutions that will keep our harbor growing now and in generations to come."
JAXPORT CEO Paul Anderson echoed Crenshaw's sentiment about the economy.
"Everyone in Jacksonville who cares about the economic vitality of this region will mark this important day," said Anderson in a release.
"The Army Corps' approval of the Mile Point project moves us considerably closer to ensuring we maintain the valuable port business that we have today and build on that by leaps and bounds for the future. We owe Congresswoman Brown, Congressman Mica, Congressman Crenshaw, Congressman Stearns, and Senator Nelson our gratitude for their leadership on this critical achievement. We are now focused on working with the Corps to expedite this signficant project in to maximize the growth of jobs critical to our continued national economic recovery."
First Coast News