FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday the awarding of $450,000 for critical repairs and equipment replacement at five Kentucky riverports.
The funding is in the form of grants to be matched by the authorities that operate the riverports, which are in Paducah, Eddyville, Henderson, Owensboro and Louisville.
“One of our greatest natural assets in Kentucky is our abundance of navigable waterways, and river commerce is an indelible part of our rich history,” Beshear said. “Our Kentucky riverports help move the nation’s cargo, and it is essential to keep them modernized and well maintained.”
The awards, recommended by the Kentucky Water Transportation Advisory Board and administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, are as follows:
Owensboro Riverport Authority
$120,082 toward purchase of a front-end loader for daily handling of bulk products, including corrosives such as fertilizer and ammonium nitrate. The new loader will replace an unreliable 11-year-old machine.
Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority
$109,890 toward repair of erosion of banks that support a boat lift near a boat repair bay. The project will involve the driving of sheet piling along the bank, backfilling with embankment material and capping with rock.
Henderson County Riverport Authority
$108,000 toward removal and replacement of two 40-year old damaged mooring “dolphins” – structures that jut from the water and to which vessels are secured. They are essential to operation of the loading docks.
Louisville-Jefferson County Riverport Authority
$95,792 toward replacement of 1,000 crossties and 49 switch ties that underlie rail lines within the riverport. As the wooden ties wear out and lose ability to hold spikes, rails can shift, requiring track closure for repairs and even posing a danger of derailment.
Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority
$16,236 toward repair of a chute on the conveyor system that moves commodities from the river to the riverport’s sand and gravel yard. Loss of the use of the chute has idled a concrete storage pad that can hold 2,000 tons of bulk material.
The 2020 Kentucky General Assembly appropriated the funding for the grants, and riverports applied for the grants to the Water Transportation Advisory Board.
Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray noted that the Commonwealth has a comprehensive transportation system comprising multiple modes. “Riverports are as indispensable as air, rail and highway for the movement of cargo and bulk commodities,” Gray said. “They create high-wage jobs, support our economy and help keep Kentucky competitive.”