WELLSVILLE Port aims to establish cargo dock

The county agency is seeking grants for the project.
WELLSVILLE -- The Columbiana County Port Authority is betting that the village will prove to be a popular port for river-borne cargo containers.
The agency is seeking approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a nearly $11 million barge dock and container-transport facility.
"We'd like to start construction this year," Tracy Drake, port authority director, said Tuesday. "We have lined up people who want to use it," Drake added without elaborating.
Being planned is a facility that would enable river barges to dock and use massive overhead cranes to unload cargo containers. The site also would include equipment to load the containers onto nearby rail cars or trucks for further shipment.
Drake said there is a growing need for facilities along the Ohio River for unloading cargo containers, some of which begin their journey at the mouth of the Mississippi.
Features: Wellsville is an attractive port because of its northern location on the Ohio, Drake said. Another attribute is its quick access to rail lines and a four-lane section of state Route 7, which intersects in East Liverpool with state Route 11, a four-lane that runs to Ashtabula.
The port authority wants to build the facility on land it owns in the Wellsville Industrial Park off state Route 7 on the village's south side.
The port authority is seeking state and federal grants for the container dock. If necessary, the agency will borrow part of the project's cost, Drake said. He added that he's confident that grants are available to cover much of the expense.
If all goes as planned, construction can start late this year and be finished sometime in 2002, Drake said.
Approval: First, however, the undertaking must get the approval of the Army Corps of Engineers.
The federal agency reports that it already has determined that the riverside project is unlikely to affect any endangered or threatened species or historical sites.
Those are among the criteria the corps uses in deciding whether to issue a permit. Others include impact on water quality, flooding, navigation and river-based recreation.