Cooper/Howard County Regional Port Authority gets new dock

January 15, 2022: Boonville Daily News

After two years in the works, the Cooper/Howard County Regional Port Authority can finally see the fruits of their labor with a newly constructed dock.

Although the dock was made possible with the help of a grant from Mo-DOT, Cooper/Howard County Port Regional Authority Secretary-Treasurer John Sponaugle said the total cost of the project was $974,000. “The board has been working on this project for two years, but it really got started in April of 2021 and was just recently completed about a month ago,” Sponaugle said. “There seems to be more interest on the part of the corps of engineers to get more barge traffic to where it can handle more traffic and there are some things going on that should help that. The old dock was built in 1975 and things get old and worn out. I don’t know if people know this, but public docks are affiliated with MoDOT and they want to get involved because every barge, give or take a few, will take about 55 semis off the highway, so that helps keep some of these trucks off the highway.”

Also, Sponaugle noted that MFA is the local operator for the port authority and that they load grain, mostly soybeans. He said the port authority will take other business as well. “I have been in contact with a company that wants to use the dock to unload clay,” Sponaugle said. “We’ve also had a company contact us and they have a lot of rock. I think it was like 80,000 tons of rock they want to put into barges on the Missouri River.”

With a board of four from Howard County and four from Cooper County, Sponaugle said the board also has one at-large member and then the secretary-treasurer. He said the county commissioners in each county are the ones that appoint the board members.

As for the dock itself, Sponaugle said the Army Corps of Engineers really watches things, as they should, and they had told the board that we needed to do something. “With the help from MoDOT, we applied for a grant,” Sponaugle said. “Of course, it didn’t pay for the entire project. I think the grant covered 60 percent and then we funded the remaining 40 percent. Klinger Engineering out of Quincy, Illinois was the engineering firm and then Magruder out of Eolia, Missouri got the winning bid. Lunda Construction has even talked to us about using the dock as they build the I-70 bridge. It’s a public dock so even the farmers can use it to help transport their crops. We don’t do anything except provide the dock. We don’t load anything; we just provide the dock for use.”

Although the dock could be used year-round as long as the river cooperates, Sponaugle said a lot depends on the Army Corps of Engineers and how much water they release upstream. He said rainfall is another thing that could affect the use of the dock. “As long as the river is at a certain height, the dock could be used 365 days a year,” Sponaugle said, “but the river has to cooperate.”


  • Missouri River mile 196.5
  • On left bank, directly across from Boonville, MO
  • No dams or locks obstruct the channel of the Missouri River from this site to its junction with the Mississippi River in St. Louis


  • Storage capacity of 250,000 bushels of grain and 4 million gallons of liquid chemicals
  • Two dry storage buildings and a 15,000-ton outside storage pad also available
  • Site includes a general cargo dock with liquid capabilities, a 50- ton crane and a 25-ton crane located on a floating dock
  • A complete line of support equipment, including loaders, dump trucks, conveyors and repair equipment is also available


  • Adjacent to US Hwy. 40, Missouri Hwy. 5 and Hwy. 87 and I-70
  • Within one mile of the Missouri Pacific Railroad


  • Only Missouri River public shipping access between Kansas City and St. Louis


  • 35 prime industrial acres are available for development


  • Available utilities include three-phase and single-phase electric, as well as water and gas