SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)- The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) cut the ribbon on a newly enhanced Ocean Terminal facility Friday.

The 45 million dollar project is meant to improve container operations. The project was approved back January of 2020.

“To do this in one year’s time speaks volumes about Savannah,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Port’s Authority.

Officials say it will create jobs while limiting the negative impact on local neighborhoods.

“It’s one thing to celebrate the investments in the infrastructure here, which is wonderful, it will create jobs and help our economy,” said Lynch, “but we also need to do the right thing for the wonderful historic communities.”

The access gate is located on Louisville road near neighborhoods like Carver Village and Brickwood.

GPA says they collaborated with traffic pattern experts to understand the local impact. They now have an established truck route with direct access to U.S. 17 and Interstates 16 and 95.

The goal is to limit any unnecessary intrusion into the surrounding neighborhoods.

“I appreciate the ports authority hearing us, working with the neighborhoods extensively,” said Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, “and again that’s going to be the way we move forward when it relates to development projects in our city.”

Alderwoman Bernetta Lanier represents Savannah’s District 1, where the development is located. She says she plans to keep citizens engaged as the operation grows

“This is a different way of doing business because we are collaborating more and speaking more,” said Lanier, “keeping the residents and citizens in mind as being the primary civic stakeholder and being beneficiaries of this new development.”

A study finds that in Chatham County alone, the port employs close to 46,000 full and part time workers.

The new services at the terminal will require GPA to hire 10 to 15 new equipment operators. They say countless other jobs will be generated as well.

The Port of Savannah is the second busiest port on the East Coast and the fourth busiest in the country.