SAVANNAH — It seems fitting to mark a watershed moment for a big maritime project.
In the case of the proposed Jasper Ocean Terminal, the approval of a new budget was cause to celebrate.
At a meeting last week, the S.C. State Ports Authority and the Georgia Ports Authority agreed to contribute $1.25 million apiece to fund the fiscal 2016 spending plan for the long-planned Jasper County shipping terminal.
The board in charge of the project passed a budget that includes accomplishing further studies of the site design, sediment, access corridor and the channel improvements that will be needed to accommodate huge ships carrying 14,000 or more cargo containers.
The board also agreed to recruit a third party to complete an environmental impact study.
“This was a watershed meeting for our board,” David Posek, chairman, said in a statement. “A significant amount of work has been completed this fiscal year, and as we look forward to a new year ahead, we’re well on our way to beginning the permitting process for the terminal.”
The 2016 work plan includes geological studies and conceptual work on terminal design by Moffat & Nichol, and the year is expected to culminate with a permit application to the Army Corps of Engineers for the new terminal and channel deepening and widening.
The Jasper port project was conceived in 2008 for a 1,500- acre site that is now a dredge-spoil area down river from the Port of Savannah.
The site will be charged with handling cargo once the Port of Charleston and the Port of Savannah reach capacity limits. The South Carolina and Georgia ports authorities have contributed $8.3 million toward the bistate project since 2011.
Charleston Post and Courier