Port Everglades Gets Go Ahead for Expansion
Expansion of Port Everglades has been approved by the US Army Corps of Engineers after 19 years and countless hours of negotiations.
The critical lynchpin was a signed Chief’s Report which was received today by Broward County and Port Everglades.
“This was a critical step to move our expansion efforts forward and had literally thousands of hours of effort from leaders like Congresswoman Lois Frankel, Port Everglades Director Steve Cernak, and the Port Everglades Action Team led by Chamber Trustee Terry Stiles,” said Dan Lindblade, president and CEO of the Chamber.
The project is designed to enable safe passage of deep draft cargo ships which are too large to arrive at Port Everglades fully laden.
“Port Everglades is a giant economic powerhouse for South Florida and it must modernize to remain competitive,” said Chamber chair Calvin Glidewell, Broward Health Medical Center. “With the business community working closely with government to receive this approval we are now in a position to secure funding in the next water resources bill in 2016.”
Main features of the project are to deepen the main navigational channels from 42 feet to 48 feet and to deepen and widen the entrance channel and parts of the Intracoastal Waterway so cargo ships can pass safely by docked cruise ships.
"The natural underwater environment is a priority for Port Everglades. It is critical to the Port that the mitigation plan include progressive approaches coupled with those that have a proven track record for replenishing and enhancing sensitive reef habitat," said Port Everglades Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak. "I want to credit the Corps, the National Marine Fisheries Service and a multitude of environmental organizations for going back to the drawing board several times to develop an innovative approach to reef mitigation that will put Broward County in the forefront of environmental research and development."
In addition, the mitigation plan includes restoring seagrasses and mangroves in West Lake Park, and building environmentally friendly bulkheads throughout the Southport Access Channel. These pioneering attributes have significantly reduced the project's environmental impact from what was originally planned nearly 20 years ago.
The project is anticipated to create an estimated 4,700 total construction jobs and nearly 1,500 permanent direct jobs locally from the additional cargo capacity. The estimated cost is $374 million which will be paid with Port Everglades revenue generated through port user fees, federal appropriations and state grants. No local property taxes will be used for this project because Port Everglades is a self-funded enterprise of Broward County.