Kentucky Water Transportation Advisory Board Reviews Projects Funded Over Past Year
The Kentucky Water Transportation Advisory Board has approved funding a guardrail project at the Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority following additional funding being made available by the state.
In July, the board approved five grants valued at $450,000. Following another $50,000 in funding becoming available, it sent out a second call for projects. Two applications, both from the Eddyville port, were received, said Jeremy Edgeworth, freight, rail and waterways coordinator at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Division of Planning.
In a meeting of the advisory board over videoconferencing software January 7, the board unanimously approved funding $48,415 for guardrails at the riverport’s Pit No. 2. The total project cost is anticipated to be $96,830. The Kentucky secretary of transportation must approve the advisory board’s final recommendation and funding level, and the project must be bid out and funds expended before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
The board did not fund the second project, which would have driven sheet piling along the port’s riverbank and added embankment backfill to correct eroded banks near the boat repair well/bay. The funding request for the project was $56,529, with the total project cost estimated at $113,058.
Billy Ray Coursey, president of the Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority, explained the guardrail project was the riverport’s top priority as it is needed to be in compliance with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.
Coursey, a member at large of the board, did not vote on which project should receive funding, citing his conflict of interest in also being associated with the riverport.
The board also received an update on the status of previously approved projects for the entire fiscal year. They include:
• Completion of a warehouse restoration project at the Hickman-Fulton County Riverport Authority. “We hope to have a tenant in there pretty shortly and appreciate the help on the project,” Port Director Greg Curlin said.
• Completion of the realignment of an access road adjacent to the Agri-Chem facility at the Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority.
• Installation of a roll-up garage door for the truck pit at Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority to reduce rodent infestation and add protection against inclement weather.
• Replacement of 1,800 deteriorated rail ties throughout the Louisville-Jefferson County Riverport Authority.
• Purchase of a 30,000-pound-capacity forklift, replacement of a truck hopper and construction of a railcar belt conveyor at the Henderson County Riverport Authority. Edgeworth noted the conveyor is backordered for electrical components but that the other work has been completed.
• Stabilization of key riverbank and ditch lines at the Owensboro Riverport Authority with 2,500 tons of riprap following erosion from river changes and rainfall.
• Removal of two damaged mooring dolphins and installation of two new ones at the Henderson County Riverport Authority. Edgeworth noted that the contract on the project has been awarded, but the project is not yet complete.
• Replacement of 1,000 deteriorated rail ties and 49 switch ties at the Louisville-Jefferson County Riverport Authority. The ongoing series of tie replacements is designed to allow CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern and Paducah & Louisville Railway to service companies within the port.
• Replacement of a 2009 front-end loader at the Owensboro Riverport Authority with a new one. The order has been placed, and delivery is expected in February, Edgeworth said.
• Refurbishment of the triple pantleg chute to repair access to a concrete loading pad at the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority.
Board chairman Brian Wright noted that the projects the board approved over the past year are worthwhile and expressed his thanks to the state for available funding opportunities.
“From my perspective, these are all overdue, needed infrastructure projects to allow these riverport authorities to do what they need to do as riverport authorities serving their communities,” he said.
Board members also asked about the likelihood of continued funding availability from the state. Edgeworth said he expected the governor’s recommended budget to continue the funding at the same level, although the Kentucky General Assembly approved a one-year budget last year instead of the typical two-year budget, meaning final funding amounts could change from year to year.