JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JaxPort on Monday morning agreed to pay 100% of the money needed to raise six high-voltage power lines that span the St. Johns River.
The new estimated price tag — an estimated $42 million. But JaxPort officials said it could cost anywhere between $50 million and $30 million.
The cost was originally estimated at around $30 million, but that was in 2020. The Army Corps of Engineers said the lines need to be 20 feet higher for larger ships to pass through. Currently the power lines are 175 feet above the water line.
The project is expected to be completed by 2026.
JEA leaders said in April they were committed to raising the lines that cross the river at the port. But who would foot the bill was up in the air until the agreement was approved by the JaxPort Board of Directors on Monday. The lines carry electricity to about half of JEA’s customers.
“I am pleased that we are moving forward with JaxPort in planning for raising the Fulton Cut tower lines. JEA is focused on how to best serve the growing needs of Northeast Florida and help drive economic growth in the region. This project will allow for larger ships and thus provide for more jobs and economic growth in Northeast Florida,” JEA CEO Jay Stowe said in a statement.
JaxPort will assume the obligations to identify funding sources and to pay for the cost of the project while JEA will be responsible for acquiring all necessary permits for completion of the project. And JEA, with JaxPort’s cooperation, will also be in charge of engineering services for the design and development of the project.
Jaxport recently wrapped up a years-long harbor deepening project to allow for larger cargo ships in the St. Johns River.
It also completed the final phase of a $100 million berth improvement project that includes a new deepwater space for ships to dock at Blount Island.
JaxPort also voted Monday to approve a long-term lease agreement with a company that handles trade to Puerto Rico.
Trailer Bridge will continue to serve as a full-service logistics provider out of Jacksonville.
JaxPort is the top port for trade with Puerto Rico and handles 90% of all sea trade between the island and the mainland.