RIVER VALLEY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The United States Department of Transportation granted the Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority $15.1 million to build a new slackwater harbor to assist with port development.

Five Star River Distribution, a local Van Buren River distribution company, helped fund the remaining 20% of the roughly $18 million project.

The new slackwater harbor will include a 1000 ft. long 200 ft. wide slip that will allow for more barges to be unloaded at a time. In addition to the slip, the new harbor will provide 2,000 feet of dock frontage and a deck for mobile cranes.

According to the WAIA, this project will bring more jobs and have a large economic impact on the region. The project is a partnership between the city of Van Buren, Fort Smith, Crawford County, Sebastian County and the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority.

“The first couple of years, we’re going to have the benefit of the transportation, the construction cost those dollars turning back over into the community,” said Marty Shell, the president of Five Star.

The start date of the project has not been released.