Graphic shows planned improvements at the Port of Paducah as the result of a $3.32 million Port Infrastructure Development Program grant. (Graphic courtesy of Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority)
Ports & Terminals

Paducah Port Goes Forward With $3.32 Million Grant For  Bulk Yard

The Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority is moving forward with implementing a $3.32 million grant from U.S. Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).

MarAd announced the PIDP grant in December 2021, but it was finalized last month, with authorization to proceed granted August 28, Executive Director Tim Cahill said.

Environmental studies and the permitting process took time, he said.

Separately, the riverport authority received notice in July that it will receive $30,510 in state funds from a Kentucky Riverport Improvement (KRI) grant toward the replacement of two deteriorated entranceways and aprons to provide increased access to storage yards.

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The port is located within the city limits of Paducah, Ky., from Mile 1.3 to 2.0 on the Tennessee River.

Local matches for the PIDP grant have been received, Cahill said, and the port is working on the preparation of bid packages, which will be staggered as part of the implementation plan. The port has worked closely with Bacon Farmer Workman Engineering of Paducah, which partnered with the port on the grant application.

The PIDP grant project funds the purchase of material-handling equipment along with repairs to damaged storage domes, allowing additional commodity storage. It will also allow a major upgrade to the existing bulk commodity yard, modernizing it to increase the yard’s handling capacity, safety and environmental impact. It requires a $500,000 local match, including $140,000 from existing customers, according to the grant application posted on the riverport’s website. An additional $100,000 each was to be provided by the city of Paducah and from McCracken County, leaving the remaining $160,000 to come directly from the port authority.

Three new stackers will be purchased, replacing one built in 1972 and two from 1966. A fixed conveyor system for the port’s sand storage area will be replaced with three new 30-inch-by-100-foot ground conveyors, allowing the port to reach new storage areas as well as expand existing storage on the property. The three new ground conveyors and an additional new, fourth radial stacker will allow the port to expand storage areas within the 20-acre yard that currently cannot be accessed.

The replacement of roofs for the storage domes is a key part of the project, he said. Both domes partially collapsed in December 2018. They contained a product used for fuel at a manufacturing facility elsewhere in western Kentucky.

The existing concrete foundations will be utilized, and new roof systems consisting of galvanized steel frame and tarp covers will be constructed, allowing the facility to reduce handling and trucking and for the riverport to boost productivity.

“The dome structures are a priority,” Cahill said. “They should be the first bid package coming out.”

He said he hopes construction on them will start late this year or early in 2024.

“The dome structures will increase revenue opportunities and provide some flexibility for existing customers and potential new customers,” he said.

The procurement process for the new conveyors and a new stacker should run concurrently with installation of the dome roofs, Cahill said. The primary radial stackers in the bulk yard will take longer because they have to be constructed, he said.

Cahill said both the PIDP and KRI grants are helping those at the port authority to revitalize the bulk yard as they look toward the port’s future.

“We’re rebuilding the port for the next generation,” he said.

Caption for photo: Graphic shows planned improvements at the Port of Paducah as the result of a $3.32 million Port Infrastructure Development Program grant. (Graphic courtesy of Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority)