The Port of Brownsville received a key permit on June 6 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance the Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project (BIH) to its construction phase.
The Corps permit is the latest milestone in the port’s effort to deepen the Brownville Ship Channel from 42 feet to 52 feet.
When complete, the Port of Brownsville will be among the deepest ports on the Gulf of Mexico, the port said the design features are closely aligned with that of the expanded Panama Canal.
Planning to deepen the ship channel from 42 feet began in 2007 with a project feasibility study. In 2014, the Corps completed the feasibility study recommending deepening the channel to 52 feet. Two years later the U.S. Congress authorized the channel deepening project, making the BIH eligible to receive federal funding.
The project may cost upwards of $350 million, with construction expected to begin in 2020. The port expects to pay for the project with a combination of public, private and federal funds.