MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Harbor Assistance Program has awarded about $8 million in grants to improve transportation and access at ports and harbors across the state.

Door County's Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding received the largest grant, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The $3.6 million grant will be used for dock wall construction and dredging.

"This will be extremely beneficial to shipbuilding on the Great Lakes, allowing for deeper berths where we can accommodate heavier vessels and improve our overall winter capacity," said Melissa Wollering, a spokeswoman for Fincantieri.

Fortune 100 company Cenex Harvest States has received $1.7 million to replace about 600 feet of dock wall, according to Jason Serck, the director of planning, economic development and ports in Superior.

"It's just old and has some corrosion issues, so it needs to be replaced," he said. "To make it viable for continued use, they need to upgrade it."

The program makes it easier for businesses to improve commerce and shows that companies are investing in Superior, Serck said.

The city of Washburn received about $1.4 million for improvements on the northern wall of the city's coal dock, said Scott Kluver, city administrator. The dock was damaged during an October storm.

"We want to make sure that the dock gets secured, so the plan is to sheet-pile the remaining sections of that," he said.

A $1 million grant will be used to repair a failing steel pile bulkhead for the ferry service SS Badger in Manitowoc County, while a $453,000 grant will fix a dock wall used by KK Integrated Logistics in Brown County.

The program's most recent two-year budget received $14.1 million in bonding authority and $4.5 million in segregated funds. The program began in 1979 and has given around $130 million to more than 100 projects.

___

Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org