International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled a public meeting on January 15 to review and answer questions about the Tacoma Harbor Navigation Improvement draft feasibility report and draft environmental assessment (EA). Sessions begin at 2 and 5 p.m. at the Moore Branch of the Tacoma Public Library in Tacoma, Washington.

The meeting will focus on the Corps’ draft report and draft EA resulting from a General Investigation of dredging the Blair Waterway to improve navigation at the Port of Tacoma. Corps officials will begin each session with an open house followed by a presentation and an opportunity to comment on the Corps’ report.

The draft report, draft EA and appendices are available to review online or at Seattle District’s website by clicking on “Tacoma Harbor Navigation Improvement” under “Most Requested.”

The Corps is accepting public comments on the draft report and EA until February 16. Comments will be accepted at the meeting via comment card and orally. Comments will be accepted via email to TacomaHarbor@usace.army.mil or can be mailed to: ATTN: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, CENWS-PMP, P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, WA 98124-3755.

A feasibility cost sharing agreement between the Corps and the Port of Tacoma to study navigation improvements at Tacoma Harbor was signed in August 2018. The study investigates navigation improvements to the Blair Waterway to achieve transportation cost savings (increased economic efficiencies) for larger vessels calling at the Port of Tacoma. The feasibility study analyzes alternatives associated with opportunities for channel deepening in Tacoma Harbor. The Blair Waterway is authorized to -51 feet mean lower low water (MLLW).

The draft report and draft EA identify a tentatively selected plan to deepen the existing channel to an authorized project depth of -57 feet MLLW, expand channel widths ranging from 450 feet to 865 feet, and expand the turning basin boundary to a diameter of 1,935 feet. Under the least cost disposal option, approximately 2.4 million cubic yards (cy) of dredged material would be placed in the Commencement Bay open-water disposal site and approximately 392,000 cy would be placed at an upland facility.

In addition, the Saltchuk site, located northeast of the Blair Waterway, is a potential location for beneficial use of dredged material for environmental benefits. Although not the least-cost disposal option, the tentatively selected plan includes additional evaluation of beneficial use of approximately 1.85 million cy of dredged material at the Saltchuk site based on preliminary analysis and results.

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