Report: Port restoration moving faster than first expected

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - State officials say significant progress is happening at the Port of Gulfport. A new report released Tuesday indicates the Port's $570 million restoration is on schedule for completion in 2016, and construction activity is expected to ramp up over the next year.

"The Port of Gulfport's restoration has been one of the most important tasks I have faced as governor," Governor Bryant said. "Completing this project benefits the coast as well as the rest of the state. I commend the port's leadership for ensuring the project progresses while yielding the maximum benefit for the taxpayers. Once finished, this investment will greatly benefit the region and state."

The changes in restoration design and approach resulted from the five directives Governor Bryant set forth in 2012. He said the Port project must:

  • Create the required new jobs
  • Deepen Gulfport's channel
  • Maintain current tenants
  • Increase the Port's capacity
  • Foster commercial development

View a PDF of the entire 19-page Status Report on the Port of Gulfport Restoration Project:

The report says final design and construction is underway, and more than $237 million in design, engineering and construction contracts have been issued in relation to the restoration project. The Port has completed the filling of 84 acres in the Mississippi Sound and is currently developing 50 acres that will provide additional available space for new tenants to use.

"Prospective tenants already recognize what we are about to have here in Gulfport," said Jonathan Daniels, MSPA executive director. "We are not waiting for the completion of construction. We're moving forward to recruit investment and jobs."

"Our excellent transportation network, including our ports, is attractive to businesses seeking new locations. The strengthening and developing of the Port of Gulfport will increase capacity, in turn generating new jobs and investment for Mississippi," said MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen.

Some $570 million in Community Development Block Grant funds is being utilized to restore the Port following Hurricane Katrina.

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