The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has awarded a $15 million infrastructure improvement grant to the Port of Columbia in Caldwell Parish.
The port is the site of Strategic Biofuels’s Louisiana Green Fuels Project, a plant and accompanying Class VI Carbon Capture and Sequestration Wells that will be built to produce up to 33.7 million gallons of renewable fuel per year from forestry waste. It will be served by Union Pacific (UP).
The grant, part of the Louisiana Port Construction and Development Priority Program, will enhance the port’s accessibility and covers:
• Upgrading the current site access road (Riverton Camp Road) to heavy industrial grade. This will provide immediate plant construction-site entry. Local engineering firm Bryant Hammett & Associates is performing design work; construction is expected to begin mid-summer 2022.
• Building a 37-car rail spur. The spur will provide access to the UP main line bordering the port. Hatch has completed engineering design work with funding from the Louisiana Green Fuels Project, and construction is expected to begin in 2023.
• Constructing a rail overpass. The port, in conjunction with the Louisiana Green Fuels Project and the DOTD, has developed “a traffic pattern to ensure safe and efficient access for forestry transport trucks to and from the future plant site.” Design work is being performed by local firm Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix & Hixson, Inc. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts the port has made to secure funding for infrastructure improvements,” Strategic Biofuels’s Chief Operating Officer Bob Meredith said. “The early upgrading of Riverton Camp Road coming this summer provides strong support for LGF’s [Louisiana Green Fuels Project’s] aggressive construction schedule. It allows us to begin actual plant construction as soon as the full project funding is secured, and we expect that to be in early 2023. The Port has also been a key contributor in our efforts with DOTD and Union Pacific Railroad. The strong support we’ve continued to receive from Caldwell Parish confirms the wisdom of locating the plant here.”