Posted: Oct 24, 2011 10:35 AM CDT Updated: Oct 24, 2011 5:35 PM CDT

By Theresa Schmidt – bio
The West Cal Port is seeking bids for dredging that, once complete, will allow for expansion.

It’s not always easy to find a parking space– especially when you are looking for a spot to park a big barge. But the West Cal Port is adding slots in a project good for the economy and the environment.

Compared to the Port of Lake Charles,  the West Calcasieu Port is small. Yet the 190 acre port is strategically located between New Orleans and Houston on the Intracoastal Waterway. And Port Director Lynn Hohensee says the expansion plan creates potential. “We have an opportunity to see this as a catalyst for the growth of jobs, growth of industrial tax base, and also the growth of business.”

The port has received a $2.3 million grant from the State Department of Transportation and Development. That, along with a local match, will be used for expansion dredging of the port’s west barge basin. Said Hohensee, “With this money we are going to expand our existing barge basin by about twenty five to thirty slips to accommodate more barges. This is about 800 linear feet of shoreline.”

Hohensee says the material dredged will be used to create about twelve acres of new marsh–which helps offset damage from erosion and hurricanes.. And help build up land they can one day use for more tenants. “It’s about a forty acre site that’s all levied off and as we continue to put our spoils in there we are building up hopefully, at some point in time down the road, to about eleven foot above sea level elevation which will make it prime business development property on the Intracoastal Waterway here in Southwest Louisiana.”

They plan to open bids November 16th and hope there will be some dredging underway before the end of the year.

Including the local contribution,  it’s a project of more than three million dollars. Any potential bidders who want more information should contact Meyer and Associates.