Great Lakes Award First Contract for Charleston Harbor Deepening
In mid-September, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District awarded Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company the first construction contract for the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project, for work at the entrance channel. The $47 million contract also includes maintenance work. In total, approximately six million cubic yards of material will be removed from the entrance channel to achieve its newly authorized depth of 54 feet.
The dredged material will be placed in the Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site offshore.
The Corps said that hopper dredges would be used or the work, which would be completed by spring 2020. Due to the presence of threatened and endangered species, hopper dredge operations are restricted to an environmental dredging window, generally from December to March each year.
This is the first of two contracts that will be required to complete the deepening of the entrance channel. The Corps said the second contract will likely be awarded before the end of the calendar year.
Depending on full-funding, dredge availability, weather and a variety of other factors, the construction of the entire project will take 40 to 76 months. A timeline for the dredging of the upper and lower harbors has not yet been finalized, but is planned to take place concurrently during a portion of the timeframe required to complete the entrance channel.
On September 14, the South Carolina Ports Authority announced that the largest ship ever to transit the Panama Canal and call on the East Coast arrived at Charleston.
“The first dredging contract awarded for harbor deepening is outstanding news for SCPA and the state of South Carolina, and the arrival of the biggest ship ever to call our port this morning is a timely and visible example of the importance of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “Our harbor will ultimately be the deepest on the East Coast, allowing vessels like the Roosevelt to transit without tidal restriction. Today reaffirms our efforts and investments in terminals and infrastructure to prepare for the big ships being deployed to the East Coast following the Panama Canal expansion and completion of the new Bayonne Bridge.”
In addition to the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, the port has been preparing for the deployment of New Panamax vessels to the East Coast with significant upgrades to terminal infrastructure and equipment. A wharf strengthening and modernization project at the Wando Welch Terminal will be completed in the spring of 2018, and the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, the only new permitted container terminal on the East or Gulf Coast, will open in June of 2020.
Portland District and Local Ports Begin EIS on Lower Columbia River Channel Project
The U.S. Corps of Engineers Portland District announced that it is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), jointly with sponsor ports in Washington, Longview, Woodland and Vancouver, and the Port of Portland in Oregon, for the the Lower Columbia River Federal Navigation Channel Maintenance Plan. An extended scoping period runs through November 8.
The Lower Columbia River Federal Navigation Channel project includes a main channel that is 43 feet deep and about 600 feet wide, and extends upstream of the Mouth of Columbia River, River Mile (RM) 3 to Vancouver, WA, RM 105.5. The channel also extends into lower Oregon Slough and includes vessel turning basins at Astoria in Oregon and Longview, Kalama and Vancouver in Washington. The channel is maintained using a combination of dredging and hydraulic control works (pile dikes). Advanced maintenance dredging is approved up to 5 feet below authorized depth (-48 feet) and up to 100 feet outside the authorized channel width. For the past several years, dredging 6 to 8 million cubic yards of localized sand shoals has been required annually to provide reliable service for deep-draft navigation.
The Corps’ policy requires all federally maintained navigation projects to demonstrate that there is sufficient dredged material placement capacity for a minimum of 20 years. The new plan is intended to ensure warranted and environmentally acceptable maintenance of the 43-foot Lower Columbia River Federal Navigation Channel for the next 20 years. Specifically, the plan will be designed to facilitate efficient management of dredged material, accounting for variability of shoaling processes, to provide a reliable channel for deep-draft navigation. The plan will describe the results of investigations and analyses used to make determinations as to current and forecasted dredging needs and material placement capacity, potential additional placement sites, measures to reduce the need to dredge and avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures as needed.
As the non-federal sponsors, the sponsor ports are responsible for securing the upland placement sites through purchase or easement and for obtaining state and local permits for the disposal sites. To satisfy requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), the Corps and sponsor ports will jointly prepare an EIS on the plan.
Upon completion of the scoping process, the Draft Integrated Plan and EIS will be developed and then circulated for public review and comment. The Corps and Sponsor Ports expect to release the Draft Integrated Plan and EIS for public review and comment in 2018. The Corps will issue a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register announcing the release of the Draft Integrated Plan and EIS for public comment. The Sponsor Ports will publish a Notice of Availability of the Draft Integrated Plan and EIS for public comment in accordance with SEPA regulations. Documents and other important information related to the Draft Integrated Plan and EIS will be available for review on the project website.
First Jacksonville Harbor Contract Awarded to Dutra Group
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District awarded the first contract for the Jacksonville Harbor deepening project to Dutra Group of San Rafael, California. The $22,826,400 contract “A” is the first of multiple construction contracts that will deepen the existing Federal navigation channel, from its current authorized depth of 40 feet to 47 feet.
Contract A includes dredging about 3 million cubic yards of material from the entrance channel (Bar Cut-3) to slightly west of the Mayport Ferry (Cut-7). This work does not involve blasting. The contractor will transport the excavated material and place it in the Jacksonville Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site located about six miles southeast of the entrance channel jetties.
In addition to dredging, the work involves turbidity/sedimentation monitoring (pre- and during construction environmental monitoring for direct and indirect effects associated with construction activities), endangered species and marine life observers.
Construction is expected to start in December and the estimated construction duration is roughly two years.
In accordance with the executed project partnership agreement, the total cost of the authorized project is $704.5 million; the federal share is $337.8 million and the non-federal share is $366.7 million.
NY/NJ Port Authority Announces $1 Billion in Investment Post-Sandy
Five years after Superstorm Sandy caused unprecedented flooding and devastation to New York/New Jersey Port Authority facilities, the agency announced that it has invested nearly $1 billion to date. The port authority also has plans to invest the remainder of the estimated economic loss of $2.8 billion in the coming years to further rebuild, protect and add resiliency.
Over the past five years, the agency has completed more than 80 projects, with another 65 Sandy-related capital projects in progress.
Boston Harbor Dredging Project Officially Kicks Off
On September 15, Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Edward Markey, Congressman Stephen Lynch, local elected officials and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) officially kicked off the $350 million Boston Harbor Dredging Project.
Project plans include maintaining the inner harbor, and deepening the outer harbor, main shipping channel and reserved channel. The dredging in the inner harbor preserves vessels’ capability to deliver home heating oil, automobiles, jet fuel, and salt to terminals along the Chelsea and Mystic Rivers.
“A deeper harbor means more container traffic, and that means more economic growth. It’s good for Greater Boston, it’s good for the Commonwealth, and it’s good for the entire region,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “I was glad to partner with Massport and the Port of Boston and to fight for federal funding for this project, and I’m excited to see it begin.”
The overall project to deepen Boston Harbor will cost approximately $350 million, including $130 million from Massport and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and $220 million in federal funding, including $18.2 million allocated in the Corps FY 2017 workplan and $58 million included in the President’s FY’18 budget. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has contracted with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock to perform the work.
The first phase of the project consists of maintenance dredging, including the construction of a Confined Aquatic Disposal (CAD) Cell just off the shore of the Autoport in Charlestown, which will safely hold tons of sediment from the floor of the harbor. This work is expected to continue through the end of the year.
The second phase of the project, scheduled to begin in mid-2018, will deepen the Outer Harbor Channel, from 40 to 51 feet; the Main Shipping Channel, from 40 to 47 feet; and the Reserve Channel, where Conley Container Terminal is located, from 40 to 47 feet.
Port of Indiana Purchases Land Along Ohio River as Potential Site of Fourth Port
The Ports of Indiana has entered into an agreement to purchase up to 725 acres of land along the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg and Aurora, Indiana, to be the potential home of a fourth state port.
The agreement allows the Ports of Indiana to begin onsite engineering and environmental analysis of the property to determine the development potential and economic viability for constructing a port on the site. The Ports of Indiana expects to complete its due diligence and make a final decision about purchasing the land as early as 2018.
The land is the site of a former American Electric Power plant operated by Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), and is owned by the Tanners Creek Development LLC, an affiliate of Commercial Development Co. Inc. and Environmental Liability Transfer Inc. (ELT).
Indiana has three state ports operating on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan, with locations in Jeffersonville, Mount Vernon and Burns Harbor/Portage. Indiana has not opened a port since 1985 and has developed 80 percent of the original land that was acquired to construct the existing ports. Over the years, the Ports of Indiana has expanded each of its ports and now operates approximately 2,800 acres along Indiana’s navigable waterways.
Corps and Port of Corpus Christi Celebrate PPA for Channel Project
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Port of Corpus Christi Authority celebrated the execution of a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) for the deepening and widening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel with a ceremonious signing on October 20.
The PPA became effective September 9, approved unanimously at a September special meeting of the Port of Corpus Christi Commission. At the time, port commissioners also approved the acceleration of $32 million in port funds to the Corps to expedite initial construction phase of the project.
The Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project (CIP) will widen the channel to 530 feet, plus add additional barge shelves, to allow for two-way vessel and barge traffic, and deepen the channel to 54 feet MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water).
Port Tampa Bay Approves Partnership for Channel Project
Port of Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Tampa Electric Co. and Mosaic Co., a global fertilizer company, which is one of port’s largest tenants, along with Tampa Electric, for a $60 million widening and extension of Big Bend Channel.
The Big Bend Channel connects to the Tampa Harbor main channel and will be deepened from 34 feet to 43 feet and widened from 200 feet to 250 feet to accommodate larger ships.
The Corps estimates the expansion to cost more than $60 million, but future bids may wind up higher or lower than that. Bids are not expected until March 2018. Project funding from the partners would be due at that time.
The federal government promised $9 million and plans to take over maintenance costs of approximately $1 million, according to Ram Kancharla, vice president of planning and development at the Port Tampa Bay. FDOT has pledged to pay 50 percent of the balance after the federal commitment and has given the port $5.7 million so far. The others — TECO, one of the region’s major power providers, and Mosaic, a global producer of fertilizers, both use the Big Bend Channel. — and will be disproportionately responsible for the remaining funds.