In February the Corps reported that Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy signed the record of decision for the Port Everglades Harbor Navigation Study on January 29. This completes the final round of administrative review for the project which plans to deepen the main navigation channels from 42 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.
The record of decision means the report passed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review and was transmitted to Congress where it will compete for funding in future bud-gets. The estimated project cost is $381 million cost-shared between the federal government and Broward County.
The current configuration at the port dates back to the 1970s making it difficult to accommodate the larger Post-Panamax container vessels and the tanker vessels of today. Navigation is further challenged by strong and unpredictable cross currents at the outer entrance channel. These currents can exceed five knots and un-predictably change directions resulting in vessel delays of hours to days while vessels wait at anchor for better conditions.
The Jacksonville District received investigation funds to start the pre-construction engineering and design (PED) phase which the Corps said will take approximately two years with steady funding. The construction phase could take an additional five years or more de-pending on the funding stream and phasing of the work according to Corps Project Manager Lacy Pfaff.