The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA) Board of Directors advanced the development of a 280-acre container terminal at the former Navy Base by awarding a $55-million construction project to a local firm. The project is estimated to support almost 720 local jobs and provide a $78.4-million impact to the Charleston metro region.

In February, the SCSPA released a request for bids for the construction of a 5,000-foot-long containment structure built out approximately 850 feet from the existing shoreline toward the main shipping channel. The winning bid of $55 million is a joint venture of Cape Romain Contractors of Wando, SC along with Massachusetts-based Cashman, which was the lead contractor on the demolition of the former Cooper River bridges.

The containment wall project will support an estimated 720 jobs and create a $78.4 million economic impact in the Charleston region during the 15 months it will take to complete, according to a report by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Business Research. Approximately 430 of these jobs will be in the construction sector. Additionally, the project will pump $27.7 million in personal income into the region.

“We’re moving ahead with creating new port capacity while creating tremendous local impact and jobs in the community,” said David J. Posek, SCSPA chairman. “The construction of the containment wall is critical to keep the opening of the terminal on schedule for 2014, coinciding with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal.”

Beginning this summer, crews will dredge approximately 880,000 cubic yards of material, install the steel pipe and sheet pile wall and construct a rock berm of approximately 290,000 cubic yards of rock.

The containment structure will be built in preparation for the placement of fill material in the tideland area of the new, 280-acre container terminal. The facility, at build out, will boost the Port of Charleston’s capacity by 50%, or 1.4 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU).