Craney Island gets a boost

Published 12:43 am Sunday, May 25, 2014

A “critical” step in developing a major new marine terminal was realized Thursday when U.S. senators voted to transfer land at Portsmouth’s Craney Island to the state, Virginia Port Authority’s CEO and executive director says.

Language contained in the Water Resources Development Act transfers 320 acres for the 512-acre project’s first phase; the state already owns the balance, according to the authority.

“Having the ownership of the land transferred to the commonwealth of Virginia from the federal government via this legislation puts the project in the state’s hands,” John Reinhart stated in a news release. “There are multiple steps in the process to see this project through to completion, and this is a critical one.”

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The eastward expansion site is currently controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, manager of the 2,500-acre Craney Island Dredge Material Management Area.

The Corps has partnered with the Port of Virginia, supporting, designing and building the eastward expansion for more than a decade, according to the authority.

“The continued hard work done by Virginia’s congressional delegation on this and other parts of the Craney Island Eastward Expansion project over the years has been resolute and supportive,” Reinhart stated. “The delegation has served the commonwealth’s interests, and we are appreciative of their support.”

Currently, foundations for dikes to create the perimeter of the eastward expansion are being developed. Dredge material from various projects will be pumped into the expansion area to create the terminal.

Projected to open in 2028 at a cost $1.2 billion, the terminal would feature a 3,000-foot pier, six cranes and a dockside depth of 52 feet.

It will have a big, positive impact not only on Virginia, according to Sen. Tim Kaine, who stated that the project “will help make the Port of Virginia one of the most competitive post-Panamax ports on the eastern seaboard and will have transformative economic impacts throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.”