Port overhaul costs $260M over 30 years - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Port overhaul costs $260M over 30 years

by Lannie Walker

Guam - Although a $50 million figure from the Department of Defense is still not confirmed to come Guam's way in renovating the Commercial Port, just how much work has already begun in bringing a major facelift to Guam's harbor?

Preliminary plans for a massive modernization program were unveiled today, conducted by Parsons Brinkerhoff, contracted last year to be the Port's owner, agent and engineer.  "It's going to include a phase expansion of terminal yard implementation of modern systems - new facilities that will allow streamlined operations at the Port," announced Jeff Schechtman, director of PB's Ports and Marine Division.

The plan - in the works for more than a year now - will also include expanded storage at the port in preparation of an influx of people and cargo to come with the military buildup.  The six-week design process was part of the first phase of planning.  Ultimately, the projection will span 30 years and come in at a cost of over $260 million, with the first phase alone costing $104 million.

Schechtman continued, "Probably the biggest struggle for the port modernization over time is in funding necessary to move forward we have found the funding for Phase 1a project."

That funding will come from a $50 million appropriation from the military and $54.5 million in loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An improvement the local job market will come with the improvement of infrastructure.

Project manager Jeff Peck says they have made efforts to contract local firms during the design process and more jobs will follow, saying, "The big one is in construction as soon as construction job opportunities will be available for people on the island first and then use people off-island to supplement the workforce."

Hundreds of jobs will be available, says Peck, when construction begins in mid- to late-2011.  While today may have been the first glimpse for many of what is to come, a final design will be revealed in July.

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