The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) officially commenced the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) to 50 feet on September 11, 2020. Weeks Marine started work under the first dredging contract for the deepening project with their cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK at Mile 5.0 Above Head of Passes (AHP). The USACE continues working to restore or maintain the Ship Channel in areas on the Crossings Above New Orleans with the dustpan dredges JADWIN and WALLACE McGEORGE. The USACE continues dredging to restore or maintain at least the central 250 feet of the channel on the Crossings as river stages continue to slowly fall (authorized width is 500 feet).
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) WORKING MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHIP CHANNEL DEEPENING:
The USACE intends to deepen the Ship Channel with a total of three dredges, specifically the two cutterhead dredges listed below and a hopper dredge contract to be awarded at a later date.
CAPTAIN FRANK: The industry cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK officially commenced the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 feet at 2105 hours on September 11, 2020. The CAPTAIN FRANK began working on assignment from Mile 5 AHP to Mile 1 Below Head of Passes on the western side of the channel. The CAPTAIN FRANK was forced to seek safe harbor due to the approach of Tropical Storm (now Hurricane Sally) over the weekend but should resume dredging later this week. The USACE awarded Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #1-2020 to Weeks Marine on Thursday, September 3, 2020.
ROBERT M. WHITE: The bid opening for Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020 was held on August 27, 2020 and the contract was awarded to Manson Construction on September 8, 2020. Manson is expected to start work under this deepening contract with their cutterhead dredge ROBERT M. WHITE later this month (September 2020).
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
The two dustpan dredges are expected to continue dredging unless local storm conditions related to Hurricane Sally force them to seek safe harbor.
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge continues dredging the central 250 feet of the channel at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224.0 AHP). The WALLACE McGEORGE commenced dredging on the Crossings on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
JADWIN: The government dustpan dredge continues dredging full channel dimensions at Philadelphia Crossing (Mile 183 AHP). The JADWIN began dredging on the Crossings on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
HURLEY: The government dustpan dredge HURLEY continues dredging the shallow-draft channel at Tunica Bluff (Mile 294 AHP). Traffic is moving in both directions with coordination from the U.S. Coast Guard and navigation industry. The HURLEY is also expected to dredge the shallow-draft area at Wilkerson Point Mile 235 AHP before returning to the Crossings in late September. The HURLEY commenced dredging on the Crossings on June 29, 2020 departed for Victoria Bend on July 18, 2020 and resumed dredging on the Crossings on August 3, 2020. The dustpan dredge then departed for Winchester on August 23, 2020.
INDUSTRY HOPPER DREDGE(S) ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
BAYPORT: The industry hopper dredge BAYPORT (Manson Construction) completed dredging under this contract at 1230 hours yesterday while working to restore full channel dimensions at Arlington Lights (Mile 226 AHP). The hopper dredge began work on the Crossings on July 9, 2020 and completed work under this contract on September 13, 2020.
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1000 hours today was 6.63 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.96 feet. NOAA’s National Weather Service’s Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today forecasts stages to quickly spike to 10 feet and then recede to approximately 6.4 feet in 24 hours as Hurricane Sally moves out of the area. The long range forecasts predicts a reading of 3.6 feet on October 12, 2020.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1000 hours today was 15.17 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.28 feet.
NOAA’s National Weather Service’s Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today predicts stages to spike at 17.6 feet before beginning a slow fall to 10.0 feet on October 12, 2020.
The graph below is reproduced from NOAA’s National Weather Service website and represents an experimental product to account for the complexity of accurately predicting long-range precipitation. This forecast projects stage levels based on expected precipitation for 2 days (top) and 16 days (bottom) and was developed within the North American Ensemble Forecast System (NAEFS) computer model and highlights Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF). Along with the forecasts, a shaded area is also provided to indicate uncertainty for the forecast each day in the future. These plots are experimental and not an official forecast product.