Rhode Island Narragansett,Bay

The Newport Pell Bridge spans Narragansett Bay and connects Jamestown and Newport, R.I.

(The Center Square) – A third berthing space and dredging in Narragansett Bay as part of an $83.1 million port expansion project is expected to add more momentum to the Rhode Island economy.

Gov. Dan McKee, who was joined by Quonset Development Corp. and state and local elected officials, Tuesday officially opened Pier 2 at Quonset’s Port of Davisville. The expansion project and modernization were designed to keep the port operational for another 50 years.

“Quonset’s Port of Davisville is a tangible example of Rhode Island’s economic momentum and investing in Quonset is investing in good-paying Rhode Island jobs,” McKee said in a release. “I’m proud to cut the ribbon at Pier 2 and I’m looking forward to seeing the new $60 million investment my administration secured in this year’s budget to ensure Quonset continues to be an economic driver for the state, positioning us to continue leading the nation in the race for offshore wind.”

The project, according to the release, was paid for using bonds approved by voters in 2016, Quonset port users, and the development corporation. The project was completed, according to the release, $7 million under budget.

The port was extended at Pier 2 by an additional 232 feet to create a third berthing space for ships, according to the release. The port was also dredged to allow larger cargo ships entry to the port, with an eye trained on auto imports and future wind energy development.

A major driver of the state’s economy is the Quonset Business Park that houses more than 200 companies with more than 12,000 employees, according to the release. Nearly $3 million in private investment has also been made into the port since 2005.

According to the release, the business park conducts $1.3 billion in income for families in the state, along with another $136 million in state and local taxes.

Davisville, the state’s only public port, has more than 1,700 direct jobs, according to the release, and is in the top 10 in North America for auto imports and serves hundreds of ships each year.

The state’s fiscal year 2023 budget, according to the release, provides $60 million in infrastructure investments at the port as the state eyes future wind energy projects. The funding will feature construction proceeding on Terminal 5 Pier, along with the completion of dredging, preparing 34 acres for cargo ship laydown, and reconstruction and hardening of the Pier 1 surface.

“The Port of Davisville is one of Rhode Island’s top economic assets,” House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi said in the release. “The newest expansion of Pier 2 will create more jobs and allow more imports for decades to come. We are grateful to Steve King and the Quonset team’s dedicated work that positions Rhode Island to be a leader in wind energy.”

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.