Published: Oct 22, 2010 3:34 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 22, 2010 12:34 PM EDT

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A Florida contractor has been hired to complete an environmental-impact statement on a Mississippi port's plans to expand and elevate to the south.

The state's port in Gulfport already had permission to fill and raise 200 acres on the West Pier, a process that has begun.

Joe Conn, the port's disaster-recovery director, tells The Sun Herald that PBS&J Corp., based in Tampa, Fla., will complete an environmental-impact statement that will focus on an additional 500 acres to be filled.

New areas to be filled would be south of the port. A wharf may be added on the East Pier, but Conn said the plan hinges on whether a cruise ship company would want to dock there.