Raising power lines near Blount Island now estimated to cost $42M, news study finds

File photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new study found raising the height of JEA power lines near Blount Island in order to help accommodate bigger cargo ships would cost more than was previously estimated.

About a month ago, News4JAX reported that based on a study from 2020, the estimated cost for the project was $30 million -- a price tag that JEA expected to rise. At the time of our report, a new study was underway to get an updated cost.

The new feasibility study is now completed. JEA sent News4JAX the study, which found the new estimated project cost is just under $42 million, but it could be anywhere between $33 million and $54 million.

The lines are located east of the Blount Island Marine Terminal. The project involves replacing three towers on each side of the river, where the wires cross.

The report does include a disclaimer that prices impacting the project have been impacted significantly since 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain -- and now Russia’s invasion of Ukraine -- and that the price volatility could last into next year.

News4JAX asked JEA and JaxPort about the next steps.

“We are engaging with the Army Corps of Engineers and Port to determine next steps and funding sources. At this time, we do not yet have a date set, but scheduling is underway,” JEA said.

JaxPort said: “We are in the process of reviewing the updated cost estimate and working to identify potential funding sources. Based on an email Jay Stowe sent on Tuesday, we expect to meet with JEA and the US Army Corps of Engineers in the next few weeks to discuss next steps to keep this important project moving forward.”

As far as funding, JaxPort said it “is fully committed to leading the funding effort and working with JEA to successfully complete the project.”