Norfolk – US Sen. Jim Webb toured Norfolk International Terminals Tuesday and told reporters that he and US Sen. Mark Warner have requested $50 million in federal funding for the eastward expansion of Craney Island.
The eastward expansion project is the first step in construction of a new state-owned cargo terminal. The first phase involves building a 600-acre plot of land off the east side of Craney Island. When complete, the land will give the Virginia Port Authority the ability to expand cargo capacity as needed. Many see that capacity being needed following the completion of the widening of the Panama Canal, a major trade lane to Virginia.
"When you look at the dynamic growth in (Eastern Asia) and the expansion of the Panama Canal, you're going to see a lot more of that economy coming to the East Coast of the United States, and this is the place for import and export," Webb told reporters following a tour of NIT.
Additionally, the expansion of Craney Island prolongs its life as a dredge-material deposit area. The new terminal will sit upon material dredged from the Hampton Roads Harbor and reused in the project.
Work on the eastward expansion is underway. Last month crews began depositing dredge material on the bottom of the site in preparation for construction of a foundation for a series of dikes and levees. See VPA blog post: Work on Dike Foundations for Craney Island Underway.
Above: Webb and Jeff Keever (foreground), the VPA's senior deputy executive director, discuss the impact of a widened Panama Canal on the Port of Virginia.