Port of Gulfport Director Don Allee told the Harrison Co. Board of Supervisors Monday a final decision will come soon on whether port plans will still include raising the elevation to 25 feet.
HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -
The debate over raising the State Port at Gulfport to an elevation of 25 feet will be settled soon.
Phil Bryant recently questioned the benefit of spending hundreds of
millions of dollars on elevating the port. Port leaders gave Harrison
County supervisors an update Monday on port restoration plans.
the port's elevation to protect it against future storm surge has been a
cornerstone of the port's post-Katrina restoration plan. But after
Governor Bryant voiced those concerns, the port's own consultants are
re-thinking that 25 foot elevation idea.
"We have had probably
one of the busiest projects on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico going on. It's a
dirt work project to elevate the West Pier of our port, to again,
mitigate the effects of another storm," Port Director Don Allee told
Elevating the port to 25 feet has been a key
component of the port's post-Katrina restoration plan. But after
Governor Bryant questioned whether deepening the ship channel might make
more sense, port leaders are reviewing and re-grouping.
that requires us to re-visit, well, if you stay at grade, for us 11 feet
above sea level, what is that impact on the project? What is that
impact on the future of mitigating storms? Preparing for storms?
Evacuating your port?" said Allee.
Supervisors asked: Could part of that 570 million be re-allocated for deepening the channel?
The port director said that may be difficult.
I presume it's not just a simple matter of y'all taking that money and
saying, 'Well, I think we'll go over here and do this.' I assume that's
a problem?" Supervisor Marlin Ladner asked.
"To go back and say, 'We'd like to use some of this for
dredging'. I just don't know how that conversation would go," said
As for the elevation issue, the port's consultants are reviewing that decision to see if other options might make more sense.
have asked our consultants to have their senior management review our
plans and look at exactly what we're doing right now. And situations
change. And the situation has changed some of our priorities. And we're
looking at that right now," said Port Restoration Director Joe Conn.
Whatever the outcome, port leaders say the future is promising.
the third busiest container port in the gulf, behind Houston is number
one. New Orleans is number two and we're still number three, even with
the effects of the storm and a major construction project going on,"
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