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Duluth port gets rehab dollars

(Submitted photo)

A $4.4 million project that will put the finishing touches on the rehabilitation of docks C and D in the Duluth Harbor Basin received a significant block of funding on Wednesday. The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced a port development grant worth $2.27 million to cover part of the cost of rehabbing what is known as Berth 10.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is overseeing the project. The berth is at the end of the recently redeveloped Clure Terminal Expansion across the slip from the twin gantry cranes of the Clure Public Marine Terminal.

A separate $18 million project earlier this decade put new seawalls around most of docks C and D, and accomplished lots of other work. The rehabilitation has turned the docks into a way station for heavy project and container cargoes — and host site of a new rail arrangement with Canadian National Railway which took off in 2017.

Work on the Berth 10 section of dock wall will not start in 2018, said Port Authority spokeswoman Adele Yorde. Instead, the project has "at least a three-year window within which to start construction," Yorde said. She added the Port Authority will furnish the remaining $2.1 million for the project.

The grant funding was part of $5 million given out through the state's Port Development Assistance Program, MnDOT said in a news release. The grants are being used to help leverage private dollars into total construction worth $8 million at ports in St. Paul, Wabasha, Winona and Duluth.

"One of Minnesota's strongest assets when it comes to economic development is its infrastructure," said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle in the MnDOT news release. He later added, "The projects selected under this competitive program best demonstrated local government's willingness to invest in the transportation system and the private sector partners' commitment to job creation."

The Port Authority's project in Duluth will provide for additional vessel mooring and storage area at the Clure expansion facility, said the MnDOT news release. It also will allow for dredging to full seaway depth, and the stabilizing of failing timbers and concrete dockage that make up the dock wall along Berth 10.