On May 4 Manson Construction Company began a maintenance dredging project in Sabine Pass the first inland channel in the Sabine-Neches Waterway (SNWW) on the Texas-Louisiana border. The 2013 tonnage figures place the waterway as third in the nation and the contract requires that the dredging not interrupt the heavy shipping traffic.
The contract was awarded on April 9 for $4219500 and is expected to be complete in mid-September.
Henry Schorr Jr. vice president of Manson Construction explained that it will coordinate with vessel traffic service the Coast Guard and pilots by standing by on the local traffic frequency and on channel 16 a marine VHF radio frequency used for shipping and maritime purposes.
The dredging plan includes working in halfchannel widths designated the red side and the green side on the map. When working on the opposite side of the channel from the disposal area Manson will run a submerged discharge line across the channel to allow shipping to pass. When this is not possible it will stop dredging and open the line to clear the channel for ships.
Sabine Pass is reached via a 64-mile-long entrance channel in the Gulf of Mexico and is maintained at 40 feet. Manson’s contract is to remove 1886000 cubic yards of maintenance material from Sabine Pass and place it in the federal confined disposal facility (CDF) Number 5 on the east bank adjacent to the channel. This will require up to 15000 feet of discharge line at one portion of the project Schorr said. Manson is using the 26-inch cutter suction dredge Leonard J named after longtime Manson dredging manager Leonard Juhnke who retired in recent years. The Leonard J is backed up by auxiliary vessels Big Kevin Ben M Liam M and Rebel.
The SNWW consists of 97 miles of shipping channel that access the deep-water ports of Port Arthur Beaumont and Orange Texas. It consists of the 42-foot-deep entrance channel the 40-foot Sabine Pass channel a 40-foot channel to Port Arthur and up the Neches River to Beaumont a 32-foot channel in the Sabine River to Orange and two 12-foot barge canals. Maintenance dredging is performed annually in the entrance channel every 12 to 16 months in the outer bar every four years in Sabine Pass and the Neches River and as needed in other areas.
In 2012 the Galveston District awarded Manson an $8.8 million contract for maintenance in the Port Arthur Canal turning basin and Taylors Bayou. That contract involved removing 2.9 million cubic yards of sediment from October 2012 to June 2013.
The Sabine-Neches Navigation District (SNND) which operates the channel and adjacent facilities is a political subdivision of the state of Texas governed by five appointed commissioners and managed by a professional staff. It partners with the USACE Galveston District as a non-federal sponsor on dredging projects. The non-federal sponsor for the 32-foot channel to Orange is the Port of Orange.
The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014 authorized a major expansion of the SNWW extending the entrance channel by 13 miles (to 77 miles) and deepening the channels to 48 feet plus two feet of overdepth. The Chief of Engineer’s report for the deepening was submitted on July 22 2011 and the earliest funding will be in 2017. However after a recent update of the economic benefits report waterway officials are exploring the possibility that the SNND could fund the expansion itself.