Port outlines $4.3M in Port Arthur construction projects

Published 12:40 am Friday, November 5, 2021

Port of Port Arthur construction projects scheduled in the next two years should dramatically improve facility capabilities while also upgrading lighting, fencing and drainage in areas of Downtown Port Arthur.

The projects received a major boost with the announcement this week of a Texas Department of Transportation Commission grant for $3.4 million.

The award helps fund construction of a 2.5-acre multimodal laydown yard and truck queuing area, as well as a 5-acre truck/cargo staging area.

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The award is a match grant with 75 percent provided by TxDOT and 25 percent from the port. The total project value is $4,308,487.

Port Director and CEO Larry Kelley said the TxDOT grant allows his team to advance projects quicker “as a considerable amount of planning and initial design goes into the grant application.”

The port has significantly increased the volume of cargo handled in recent years and these expansions will lead to an increase in labor hours.

“We will use the funds to expand cargo laydown areas and the ability to process over the road freight,” Kelley said. “This project reduces truck idling hours and creates improvement for truck processing.”

For a comparable port working the Port of Port Arthur’s tonnage or by any other measure, Kelley said Port Arthur’s footprint is one of the smallest in Texas or the Gulf of Mexico.

These two projects will take place on port-owned property. Developable land is essential for the port to grow and create jobs in the community, Kelley said.

Project areas

The port recently acquired 4.5 acres bounded by Austin Avenue, Fort Worth Avenue and Rev Ransom Howard Street.

Kelley said passersby have often seen project cargo and military equipment on “this relatively undeveloped land,” adding this new project improves drainage, lighting and asphalt.

“This improvement will enhance safety and improve the appearance,” he said. “As an example, we previously stabilized an area on Houston Avenue, totaling 5 acres. By having that area stabilized it has induced vessels to Port Arthur while generating local jobs in the process.”

Houston Avenue and West Lakeshore Drive bound the second development area near the port’s entrance.

Kelley said the area would be concreted and includes improvements to lighting, fencing and drainage, greatly improving the port’s ability to handle truck cargo.

“This project serves several purposes organizing truck flow, increased resiliency by relocating some of the overhead power lines underground and improved lighting for safety,” he said.

Significant technological application planned to automate the transfer of information between trucker and the stevedore.

“I can see an Internet of things, IOT application where all parties have previously shared pick up or delivery information so cargo and trucks can be better sequenced,” Kelley said. “Clearly we are building for the future.”