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) on the evening of September 11, 2020. The USACE is now working to restore full channel dimension (45 feet by 500 feet) on the Crossings Above New Orleans with the dustpan dredges JADWIN and WALLACE McGEORGE. The dustpan dredge HURLEY is expected to resume dredging on the Crossings tomorrow after being released several times to work on areas of the shallow-draft channel.
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 the hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS. The hopper dredge contract was awarded to Manson Construction on September 25, 2020, the GLENN EDWARDS is expected to begin work on the deepening project by August 2021.
CAPTAIN FRANK: The industry cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK continues dredging on the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 feet. The CAPTAIN FRANK is presently dredging at Mile 3.5 Above Head of Passes (AHP) and continues dredging on assignment from Mile 5 AHP to Mile 1 Below Head of Passes (BHP) on the western side of the channel. The USACE awarded Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #1-2020 to Weeks Marine on Thursday, September 3, 2020.
ROBERT M. WHITE: Manson Construction was awarded Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020 on September 8, 2020. Manson is expected to start work under this deepening contract with their cutterhead dredge ROBERT M. WHITE this Saturday (October 3, 2020) on assignment from Mile 9.0 BHP to Mile 15.0 BHP on the western side of the Ship Channel.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
R.S. WEEKS: The cutterhead dredge R.S. WEEKS continues dredging in the HDDA. 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 to restore an estimated 1,040 acres. When this project is completed a total of 15 mcy will have been removed from the HDDA and utilized to restore a total of approximately 1,200 acres in the PALWMA. There are now approximately 1.5 mcy of material left to be removed under this contract with completion expected in November (2020). The R.S. WEEKS resumed dredging in the HDDA on September 23, 2020.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge continues dredging full channel dimensions at Alhambra Crossing (Mile 190.5 AHP). While the dredge is working at Alhambra Crossing the White Castle Anchorage (Mile 191.1 AHP to Mile 190.4 AHP) will be off limits for vessel usage. The U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Information Bulletin detailing the temporary closure of the White Castle anchorage is attached. 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 is expected to resume dredging on the Crossings at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224 AHP) tomorrow (Thursday, October 1, 2020). 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 and also worked at Tunica Bluff and Wilkerson Point before returning to the Crossings.
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1600 hours today was 4.82 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.63 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today predicts a slow steady fall to 2.6 feet on October 28, 2020.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1700 hours today was 14.29 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.63 feet. NOAA’s National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today predicts a slow steady fall to 7.5 feet on October 28, 2020.