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The Heartland Port Authority Board has completed an agreement for a local engineering firm to draft a plan for a potential port on the Missouri River in Jefferson City.

The board signed an engineering contract with Barr Engineering, which has an office in Jefferson City, in April. Barr Engineering will partner with Hanson Engineering, which has previous experience in port projects.

During a closed session Tuesday, board members approved the scope of work, which will cost $115,000.

Last year, the Legislature approved and Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation transferring 116 acres of state-owned land just east of the Ike Skelton Training Facility to the Port Authority for the potential development of a port on the Missouri River.

According to the agreement, Barr will review the site to identify "critical issues" there.

The initial phase of the project will be an area from 150 feet south of Range Road to the Missouri River with a dock system capable of unloading two barges at a time, construction of a new access road off Cortez Road, and upgrading Range and Cortez roads to handle two semi tractor-trailer trucks. The remainder of the site would be for future development.

The Port Authority has a $120,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and $100,000 from the Missouri Department of Transportation that can be used for the engineering work. The MoDOT funding needs to be used by June 15, while the USDA money doesn't have an expiration date.

Barr officials said they anticipated having a preliminary critical analysis for the south site completed by June 15.

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