WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $10.9 million grant Tuesday to expand rail infrastructure at the West Memphis Port.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $10.9 million grant Tuesday to expand rail infrastructure at the West Memphis Port.

The funds will be used to strengthen the current rail system to allow for heavier cargo loads and extend the existing rail spur by about 13,500 feet to the base of the St. Francis Levee.

The work will allow access to the Port of West Memphis by truck and conveyor and provide a facility where bulk cargo can be loaded to and from rail, truck and boat. The port is located on the Mississippi River.

“Expanding the shipping capabilities of the West Memphis Port is one the most promising opportunities we have to create jobs in the region,” said Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

“This project will help better facilitate the use of inland waterways and allow Arkansas companies to easily promote their goods and move them around the world,” said Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.

The grant was awarded through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recover (TIGER) program.

Pryor, Boozman and Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, announced the award through a press release issued Tuesday.