On September 8 the U.S. Navy announced its decision to deepen approximately five miles of the Norfolk Harbor Channel in the Elizabeth River. This action will allow the continuous safe travel of aircraft carriers to and from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) and the Lamberts Point Deperming Station.
Dredging this heavily-used waterway which is the federal navigation channel within the Elizabeth River in Norfolk Portsmouth and Chesapeake would occur from the Lamberts Point Deperming Station in the Lamberts Bend Reach south to NNSY in the Lower Reach. Dredging would occur completely within the existing Army Corps of Engineers-maintained federal navigation channel.
The action is necessary because there is not enough space between the keel of transiting aircraft carriers and the bottom of the channel. This causes mud and other debris from the river bottom to be drawn into the engine cooling and firefighting systems creating the potential for engine damage costly delays and unsafe conditions.