The Manatee County Port Authority has approved a $13 million contract with American Bridge Company for a 584-foot extension of Berth 12 and a 10-acre container yard, finishing a port expansion project originating in 1997.
The project is expected to be complete by mid-2013, well in advance of the on-going expansion of the Panama Canal – now expected to be operational in 2015. When finished, Berth 12 will be 1,584 feet long with a 40-foot draft and be capable of handling Panamax-sized ships arriving at Port Manatee’s first dedicated container facility. This phase of the project complements dredging completed in October 2011.
“The Manatee County Port Authority’s vision for Port Manatee is being realized in dramatic fashion with this project,” observed Port Manatee Executive Director Carlos Buqueras. “Years of planning and execution will result in hundreds of new construction jobs and hundreds more of full-time on-port employment opportunities related to the container business.”
American Bridge was selected from 11 contractors, ranging from the winning low bid of $13,075,487 to a high bid of $15,510,000. After receiving authorization to proceed, American Bridge expects to complete construction in June 2013.
CH2M Hill will provide construction-phase engineering services, assuring that the project is built to design specifications.
Port Manatee purchased 412 acres of land for the project in 1997, providing the first waterside expansion opportunity outside its original footprint since opening in 1970. The 1,100 acre Tampa Bay port has since grown to become the Sunshine State’s fourth-largest, in terms of tons, and is responsible for an annual economic impact of $2.3 billion and supports directly or indirectly 24,000 Florida jobs.
The Florida International Gateway (a nearly 3,900 acre greenfield warehouse and distribution development opportunity) is immediately adjacent to Port Manatee, which is served directly by the CSX rail system and Interstates 275, I-75 and nearby I-4.
Dredging Today Staff, April 20, 2012; Image: Manatee County Port Authority