CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Big news for the West Calcasieu Port.
Assembly of a new barge loading ramp in the West Calcasieu Port is underway.
"It's made possible through a funding grant from Devall Towing for $640,000," explained West Calcasieu Port Director, Lynn Hohensee.
Hohensee says as a small port with no tax revenue coming in, they're dependent on revenue from tenants or grants like this.
"We're very grateful to Devall Towing and the Devall family, they are the longest standing tenants we have in our port," said Hohensee.
To Devall, it was a no brainer.
"It's going to create more business for the port and when it creates more business for the port it creates more business for us," said Devall Towing President, Michael Devall.
And the 80,000-pound capacity ramp will be accessible from a 700-foot hard-surface road.
"We will award the bid on that next week but that road will enable us to have traffic come straight down to the loading ramp which is a critical angle for the trucks coming in and out," said Hohensee.
The road will be constructed in 2014 and is funded by a $250,000 economic development grant from the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury.
But the big bonus of having this ramp is to help accommodate the growing oil and gas activity in Southwest Louisiana marshlands.
"The loading ramp will be the only loading ramp in the parish, at a public entity, and this is very critical to economic development growth of SWLA, primarily because trucks can drive onto barges and off barges using this ramp," explained Hohensee.
He added that the ramp project is one of the best examples of a public-private partnership in the state.
Port officials say the old ramp will be retired once the new one is operational, which should be soon.
"Probably by the end of the month is when we look to start operating the new ramp," said Hohensee.
The components for the ramp were manufactured in Houston by King Fabricators and were transported here in December.
Meyers and Associates of Sulphur provided engineering support.