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Port receives $20M grant from DOT

Staff Report //February 17, 2020//

Port receives $20M grant from DOT

Staff Report //February 17, 2020//

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The grant funding will upgrade infrastructure at Wando Welch Terminal, the state's busiest container terminal. (Photo/SCPA)

The S.C. Ports Authority has received a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help fund infrastructure projects at the Wando Welch Terminal.

The Port Infrastructure Development Grant will go toward building a toe wall and deepening three berths at the Wando terminal.

The toe wall is a retaining wall comprising steel sheet piles that is used to protect against erosion and maintain a stable slope beneath the wharf. It will be driven into the channel bottom along the face of the wharf to enable the full berth to be dredged to the depth of the deepened harbor without compromising the wharf’s structural integrity.

“We are appreciative that the DOT recognized the importance of this funding as work progresses on the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project,” ports authority COO Barbara Melvin said in a news release. “The construction of the toe wall and deepening of the three berths at Wando Welch Terminal must be completed in conjunction with the deepening project to realize the full benefits of achieving 52 feet of depth.”

The toe wall construction and dredging work will cost a total of $33 million, of which the port will contribute about $13 million.

These projects complement other infrastructure investments at the Wando terminal recently to strengthen the wharf and to create a more efficient layout to handle larger ships, taller cranes and more cargo.

The port has invested nearly $2 billion over the past several years to enhance infrastructure and increase capacity at the port.

“S.C. Ports is working to deepen Charleston Harbor, further modernize Wando Welch Terminal and build the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal,” President and CEO Jim Newsome said in the release. “This grant works in tandem with our imperative infrastructure initiatives to ensure we can handle mega containerships.”