The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) officially commenced the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) to 50 feet. 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. All dredges were forced to seek safe harbor due to the approach of Hurricane Sally, dredging operations on the Crossings have resumed and the CAPTAIN FRANK is expected to resume dredging operations tonight.
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 Hurricane Sally but should resume work on the deepening contract tonight. 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).
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
R.S. WEEKS: The cutterhead dredge R.S. WEEKS is expected to resume dredging in the HDDA by early next week. Weeks Marine has utilized multiple cutterhead dredges on this project and all material removed from the HDDA has been beneficially placed in the Pass A’Loutre Wildlife Management Area (PALWMA). The cutterhead dredges have beneficially utilized approximately 13.1 million cubic yards (mcy) of material removed from the HDDA and restored roughly 1,040 acres. When this project is completed approximately 1,200 acres will have been restored in the PALWMA. Weeks has approximately 1.9 mcy of material left to remove under this contract.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
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 fall (authorized width is 500 feet).
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge resumed dredging operations last night on 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 also resumed dredging full channel dimensions at Philadelphia Crossing (Mile 183 AHP) last night. The JADWIN began dredging on the Crossings on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
HURLEY: The government dustpan dredge HURLEY is expected to resume dredging the shallow-draft channel at Tunica Bluff (Mile 294 AHP) by tomorrow morning. Traffic is moving in both directions with coordination of 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.
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 0900 hours today was 6.29 feet with a 24-hour change of -2.42 feet. NOAA’s National Weather Service’s Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today forecasts 5.9 feet with a slow fall to 3.7 feet on October 14, 2020.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1000 hours today was 15.64 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.20 feet.
NOAA’s National Weather Service’s Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today predicts 15.1 feet with a slow fall to 9.3 feet on October 14, 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.