Port authority looking at potential designs for Missouri River port

The Heartland Port Authority is looking at what it would cost to get a port open and operating along the Missouri River near Jefferson City.

The authority's consultant, Barr Engineering, said last month that the site designated North Site One was the best location of three potential sites because it has existing infrastructure and fewer permitting hurdles.

North Site One is approximately 22 acres north of the Missouri River and is currently owned by OCCI Inc. It is accessible from Missouri 94.

The site has an existing storage area, dock, unpaved access road and equipment that can be used for barge loading and unloading, the Barr report states. The existing elements could mean cheaper development costs, the report notes.

At Thursday's meeting of the port commission, Barr officials went over conceptual site plans of what would be needed to be added to the site for a port to be operational.

The work would be done in phases. In the first phase, the plan calls for a 20-foot-wide access road, a truck scale, a conveyor and truck dump pit as well as a nearly half-acre temporary storage area. In the second phase, there would be dock expansion work done.

The estimated cost for the first phase was $3.9 million; the second phase would cost an estimated $3 million. The second phase estimate included $500,000 for permit fees, but Barr officials told the board that amount could change depending on what the board wanted to do on the site.

The critical issue with North Site One is that its located in a floodway, which could impact filling and permanent structures.

Barr also did a conceptual plan for what could be done on the the South Site, about 118 acres south of the Missouri River and accessible from No More Victims Road.

In the first phase, the work would include building a new access road from Cortez Drive, putting in grain storage bins and truck dump pits as well as removing some existing river structure. The second phase would include putting in a work area of just more than 5 acres and a storage area of just less than 5 acres.

The South Site is mostly located in a flood fringe area, but may be subject to wetlands and cultural resources impacting permit requirements and site use.

Due to the variety of potential access roads, and the the variety of permits that would be needed at the site, Barr did not do a cost estimate on the conceptual site plan for the South Site.

Barr also did not do a conceptual plan for North Site Two, which is approximately 3 acres north of the Missouri River and directly east of Capital Sand Company. It is located in a floodway and is smaller than the other two sites, but the existing infrastructure on neighboring property may be useful, according to port officials.

The port concepts are geared toward agri-bulk shipping leaving from Jefferson City, as that is what the market indicates will be the main driver of traffic to the port.

Heartland Port Authority Chairman Roger Fischer added these and other reports are needed to begin the process of writing grant applications which are due by the end of the year.