The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues working on the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) to 50 feet. The USACE now estimates that seventy-five percent (75 %) of Phase 1 of the MRSC deepening has been completed. The Phase 1 section of the Ship Channel extends from Venice at Mile 13 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to Mile 22 Below Head of Passes (BHP). The completion of Phase 1 of the Ship Channel Deepening is expected to open up the first 150-175 miles of the Ship Channel to vessels with deeper drafts. A status update with tables and a diagram of the Channel Deepening Project issued by the USACE today is here.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHIP CHANNEL DEEPENING PHASE 1:
The Phase 1 areas of the Ship Channel being deepening that could be safely worked by cutterhead dredges have now been completed and the remaining areas will all be worked by the hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction). The USACE will deepen the Ship Channel from Venice to the Gulf of Mexico (Phase 1) with a total of three dredge contracts, specifically the two cutterhead dredge contracts detailed below and the one for the hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS. The cutterhead dredges have now completed their last assignments on the eastern side of the Ship Channel and had previously completed their assignments on the western side of the channel. The USACE expects to complete the deepening project in four progressive upriver phases to the upper end of the MRSC at Mile 233.8 AHP (Baton Rouge).
CUTTERHEAD DREDGES WORKING ON DEEPENING IN SOUTHWEST PASS:
E.W. ELLEFSEN: The industry cutterhead dredge E.W. ELLEFSEN (Weeks Marine) completed its last assignment from Mile 6.0 BHP to Mile 9.0 BHP on the eastern side of the Ship Channel this morning. Weeks Marine was awarded Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #1-2020 on August 20, 2020 and worked the contract with the cutterheads CAPTAIN FRANK and E.W. ELLEFSEN. The CAPTAIN FRANK began the historic deepening project on September 11, 2020 and completed its last deepening assignment on March 3, 2021. The E.W. ELLEFSEN dredged on the deepening contract from November 18, 2020 until March 19, 2021.
ROBERT M. WHITE: The ROBERT M. WHITE (Manson Construction) completed its last deepening assignment from Mile 9.0 BHP to Mile 13.0 BHP on the eastern side of the channel yesterday. Manson Construction was awarded Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020 for the Ship Channel deepening project. The ROBERT M. WHITE worked on this contract from October 23, 2020 until March 18, 2021. The cutterhead ROBERT M. WHITE will soon begin dredging in South Pass.
HOPPER DREDGES WORKING ON DEEPENING IN THE AREA OF SOUTHWEST PASS:
GLENN EDWARDS: The GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) is presently working on assignment from Mile 13.2 AHP to Mile 12.0 AHP under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #9-2020. The GLENN EDWARDS will complete the final portions of the Ship Channel deepening project. The hopper dredge is also under contract for Fiscal Year 2021 channel maintenance and will be moved between the two contracts by the MVN dependent upon channel conditions. The GLENN EDWARDS began dredging on the deepening project in Southwest Pass on January 14, 2021.
INDUSTRY HOPPER DREDGES WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
STUYVEASNT: The industry hopper dredge STUYVESANT (Dutra Group) is expected to start dredging on the SWP bar channel over the weekend.The STUYVEASNT will be responding to Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #6-2020 that was awarded to the Dutra Group in Fiscal Year 2020.
GOVERNMENT HOPPER DREDGES WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
WHEELER: The USACE’s hopper dredge WHEELER has been delayed and is now expected to begin dredging in SWP under Readiness Exercise #1-2021 on March 30, 2021. Readiness Exercise #1 is scheduled from March 30 to April 19 (2021)
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
ILLINOIS: The cutterhead dredge ILLINOIS (Great Lakes Dredge and Dock) has removed and beneficially used approximately 2.25 million cubic yards (mcy) of material from the HDDA under Hopper Dredge Disposal Area Cutterhead Rental Contract #1-2019. The contract includes the removal of 10 mcy in the base with options to add an additional 4 mcy. The project is expected to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022. The material is beneficially being used in the West Bay Receiving Area through a submerged dredge pipeline that will have to be removed up completion of the project. The pipeline retrieval will require at least one complete closure on the Ship Channel in the immediate vicinity of the submerged pipeline (Mile 2.0 AHP to Mile 0 – the Head of Passes).
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1000 hours today was 12.23 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.29 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 rise in stages with a crest of 13.0 feet forecast on April 6 and April 7 and then to begin a slow fall to 11.0 feet on April 16 (2021).
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1000 hours today was 33.54 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.14 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today predicts a slow rise in stages with a crest of 34.5 feet forecast on April 6 and then to begin a slow fall to 27.1 feet on April 16 (2021).