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 the evening of 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 full channel dimensions (45 feet by 500 feet) of the MRSC on the Crossings Above New Orleans with the dustpan dredges HURLEY, JADWIN and WALLACE McGEORGE. All working dredges ceased operations to seek safe harbor during the weather impacts of Hurricane Delta.
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 (Manson Construction). The GLENN EDWARDS is scheduled to start dredging on the deepening contract by August 2021.
CAPTAIN FRANK: The industry cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK officially commenced the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 feet. The CAPTAIN FRANK is presently dredging at Mile 2.87 AHP and continues dredging on assignment from Mile 5.0 AHP to Mile 1.0 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. The CAPTAIN FRANK ceased dredging operations and sought safe harbor from Hurricane Delta on October 8th and resumed dredging on October 10th.
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. The ROBERT M. WHITE’s first assignment is from Mile 9.0 BHP to Mile 15.0 BHP on the western side of the channel. The cutterhead is expected to start work under the deepening contract by this Saturday (October 17, 2020).
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
R.S. WEEKS: The cutterhead dredge R.S. WEEKS resumed dredging in the HDDA on September 23, 2020. 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 were approximately 1.9 mcy of material left to be removed under this contract when dredging resumed with completion expected in late November (2020). The R.S. WEEKS ceased dredging operations and sought safe harbor from Hurricane Delta on October 8th and is expected to resume dredging at the HDDA later this week.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
HURLEY: The government dustpan dredge HURLEY continues dredging full channel dimensions at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224 AHP). The HURLEY started 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 a second time to dredge shallow-draft areas of concern at Winchester (Mile 901 AHP) on August 23, 2020 and then worked at Tunica Bluff (Mile 294 AHP) and Wilkerson Point (Mile 234 AHP) before returning to the Crossings on October 5, 2020. The HURLEY sought safe harbor from Hurricane Delta on October 8th and resumed dredging on October 10th.
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge continues dredging operations on 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 Marine Safety Information Bulletin as issued by the U.S. Coast Guard detailing the closure of the White Castle anchorage is attached. Dredging operations at Alhambra Crossing are expected to be completed tomorrow morning and the White Castle Anchorage should be reopened after the dredge departs. The cutterhead will be moving upriver to commence dredging at Bayou Goula (Mile 198.2 AHP). The WALLACE McGEORGE commenced dredging on the Crossings on Thursday, May 21, 2020. The cutterhead sought safe harbor from Hurricane Delta on October 9th and resumed dredging on October 10th.
JADWIN: The government dustpan dredge continues dredging full channel dimensions at Smoke Bend Crossing (Mile 175 AHP). The JADWIN began dredging on the Crossings on Thursday, May 21, 2020. The JADWIN sought safe harbor from Hurricane Delta on October 7th and resumed dredging on October 10th.
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1200 hours today was 4.02 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.32 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today predicts the river states to remain steady near 4.0 feet until a slight fall to 3.7 feet on November 10, 2020. The spike in river stage elevation at the Carrollton Gauge caused by the impacts of Hurricane Delta added about one foot over the river stage at the time, with a crest of 5.37 feet recorded at 0500 hours on October 10, 2020.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1300 hours today was 11.52 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.15 feet. NOAA’s National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today predicts a slight rise to 11.9 feet over the next few days and then a slow fall to 10.6 feet on November 10, 2020.