Davisville channel has not been dredged since its original construction in the 1940s
No taxpayer funds utilized to complete project
Governor Lincoln D. Chafee joined with House Speaker Gordon Fox, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) and Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) today to kick off a dredging project at Quonset Business Park's Port of Davisville. The maintenance dredging will re-establish a depth of minus 32' below mean low water in and around the berthing facilities at the Port, and allow Davisville to accommodate the design draft of the car carriers that call on the Port. Requiring no taxpayer funding, it is the first dredging effort of the Davisville channel since its original construction in the 1940s.
"The dredging work that begins today is of vital importance to the growth of Quonset Business Park, the Port of Davisville, and most importantly – Rhode Island," said Governor Chafee. "This project will ensure that we continue to be one of the most active and successful auto-ports in North America and will further strengthen one of our state's key assets. As Governor and Chairman of the RIEDC Board, I have been proud to help move this important initiative forward."
Quonset Business Park is already one of the premiere business parks in New England and one of the largest in the Northeast. It is a main driver of economic growth and job creation in Rhode Island. Quonset is home to 168 companies, employing more than 8,800 people in every sector of the economy. The Port of Davisville is the 7th largest auto importer in North America.
"Improving Rhode Island's Ports and ensuring that they can help our state grow is a top priority for the General Assembly," said House Speaker Gordon Fox. "My colleagues on both sides of the aisle, recognized that this was a critical piece of legislation that needed to pass in this year's session, and we were happy to offer our support."
The dredging project will be financed exclusively through port revenues and operating of revenues of the Business Park, which requires no support from taxpayers. This past June, the RIEDC board approved the issuance of $7.5 million in bonds for the endeavor. The move was preceded by approval of the dredging project from the General Assembly, and it was signed by Governor Chafee at the close of the session. Washington Trust is providing financing for the effort.
William Parsons, Managing Director at the RIEDC said, "Issuing the bonds was an example of how the state can and should invest in its future by maintaining its natural assets." Over the past three decades, the state's investments in the development of Quonset and the Port of Davisville has generated business growth, retention and helped to create more than 8,000 jobs.
"Washington Trust is pleased to work with the Quonset Development Corporation to finance the dredging project at the Port of Davisville, as this will help the Port of Davisville to build on its success as an economic development engine for our State," stated Joseph J. MarcAurele, Washington Trust Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "As Rhode Island largest independent bank, Washington Trust proudly supports those businesses, organizations, and activities that make the Ocean State a better place to live and work and this is another great example of our efforts here in Rhode Island."
During the event, Governor Chafee, Speaker Fox, and Steven J. King, PE, the Managing Director of QDC, boarded one of the dredging vessels that will help service the project. With the assistance of the vessel's crew, Governor Chafee triggered the first removal of sediment from the channel area that will be dredged.
"With the completion of this dredging, as well as $22.3 million in federal TIGER grant improvements at the Port, we anticipate that the port will continue to grow in the coming years," King said at the press conference. "This is one of the most important projects we have embarked upon in the past several years, and we are extremely grateful for the support of our state leaders in making it happen."
The project itself entails dredging the channel depth adjacent to the Davisville piers to 32' feet, and moving 260,000 cubic yards of dredging materials to the Rhode Island Sound disposal site. In advance of the dredging, a testing and sampling plan of sediment was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) in May 2011. The testing of sediment and organisms was completed by November 2011. No significant issues or contaminants were identified, and the sediment was approved for off-shore disposal. The project will be completed by January 31 in order to accommodate environmental requirements.
About Quonset Development Corporation: The Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) is a real estate development and property management company. Formed in 2005 it is responsible for the development and management of the 3,207 acre Quonset Business Park®. Quonset Business Park is home to 168 companies, employing approximately 8,800 people in a variety of industries. The Port of Davisville at Quonset Business Park is the 7th largest auto importer in North America.