The Columbus-Lowndes County Port Authority is preparing for the planned 2012 opening of the Kior biofuels plant, at the port.
The board Wednesday got an update on a grant application for $150,000 for road improvements to the Kior site. The board also applied for a Mississippi Development Authority loan for $217,000 to fund the $367,000 project.
“Those two things, the loan and the grant, will do the road,” said John Hardy, port director.
The Port Authority should find out whether or not the loan and grant have been approved within the next month, Hardy said.
The project involves improvements to Industrial Park Access Road, adding a third lane from just south of Baldor to Kior.
“It”s primarily for the log tricks that”ll be going to that chip mill down there,” Hardy explained.
Kior will convert wood chips to oil. The company planned to host its official groundbreaking this morning.
Other projects on tap for the port include replacing cross ties and rail components at the rail spur that comes off the Kansas City Southern main line and enters the port.
The $100,000 project is being funded by a grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
In conjunction with that project, improvements will be made a set of scales that weigh the rail cars when loaded. It is a $60,000 project and has been awarded to System Scale Corp. of Jackson.
Also ongoing is environmental studies and engineer work at the west bank, to get add a rail spur when funds are available.
“We want to expand that port over there. Industries look for an intermodal transportation, and when I say that I mean you have water, you have rail, and you have roads,” Hardy said.
The east bank has all three; the west bank lacks rail.
Neel-Schaffer is doing the design work, so when funds are available plans already will be in place.