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On September 20, the Corpus Christi Port Authority Commissioners adopted a resolution approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District. The MOU is for work done to execute a project partnership agreement for the Corpus Christi Ship Channel – Channel Improvement Project (CSC-CIP).

The MOU allows for in-kind contributions by Port Corpus Christi for sediment testing services associated with dredging the entrance channel of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel ahead of the project partnership agreement for the project.

The remaining elements of the authorized CCSC-CIP consist of deepening and widening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel and construction of barge shelves across Corpus Christi Bay. Sediment sampling has not yet completed and any new design work will not be completed by the Corps until additional federal funding for the project is received and a Project Partnership Agreement is executed. The sediment sampling and analysis is expected to take 6-9 months to complete.

The MOU enables time-sensitive sampling work to be performed by Port Corpus Christi, and will be eligible for credit toward the port’s cost-share requirement for the CCSC-CIP. Projected costs include the work to be performed by the Corps Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and that contracted by the Port Corpus Christi Authority for the collection of the sediment samples.

“The MOU will allow the port to start the sediment sampling work that would be required prior to awarding a dredging contract for the entrance channel,” said Nick Laskowski, a project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District. “Sediment sampling and testing requires approximately 10 months to complete. Starting the work now will shorten the time needed to issue the dredging contract once a Project Partnership Agreement is signed; therefore, the entrance channel will be able to be constructed approximately 10 months earlier. Also, the execution of the MOU for ‘work in kind’ will make the port eligible to receive credit for the cost to conduct the sediment sampling.”

“The Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project is one of the most critical components to Port Corpus Christi’s Strategic Plan ensuring future prosperity for our region. The deeper, wider ship channel, will create greater shipping efficiencies by allowing larger vessels with fewer trips to call on our port. Addition-ally, the gains in safety for vessels traversing the Corpus Christi Ship Channel will be tremendous. This MOU with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will enable this critical Port Corpus Christi project to get a jump start ahead of dredging,” said Charles W. Zahn, Jr., Chairman of the Port Corpus Christi Commission.

Pending federal appropriations, the project is expected to get under way in 2017.

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