Port Everglades in Broward County Florida announced in February that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Review Board approved the final environmental and economic feasibility study for the project.
The board unanimously approved the plan to move forward to state and agency review. After a 30-day review period the project will need final approval on the Chief of Engineers Report recommending the project to Congress for construction authorization. The chief’s report is anticipated by the end of May.
Port Everglades has been working with the Corps for more than 18 years on this project designed to enable safe passage of deep draft post-Panamax cargo ships those too large to fit through today’s Panama Canal. Port Everglades already handles post-Panamax ships from Europe but the ships must be lightly loaded which is inefficient and older fleets are being replaced with much larger ships.
The main features of the project are to deepen the main navigation channels from 42 feet to 48 feet (plus one-foot required and another one foot allowable overdepth for a total of 50 feet) and to widen the Entrance Channel and the maneuverability constrained Southport Access Channel including the “knuckle” area between berths 23 and 26.
The project is anticipated to create an estimated 4700 total construction jobs and nearly 1500 permanent direct jobs locally. The estimated cost is $374 million which will be paid with Port Everglades revenue generated through port user fees federal appropriations and state grants. No local tax dollars will be used for this project because Port Everglades is a self-funded enterprise fund.