The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) completed the Phase 1 dredging for the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) to 50 feet on May 7, 2021. 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 USACE uncovered some depth anomalies with two utility pipelines and one cable that cross under the Ship Channel in the area of Venice from Mile 12 AHP to Mile 11 AHP. Due to the information uncovered the USACE is working to verify the depth over these structures in this area before the Ship Channel is officially opened up to a deepened draft (50 Feet). The USACE has actively worked to define the extent of this problem by identifying and contacting the listed utility owners and is awaiting updated surveys and operational information for each potential obstruction. The USACE is working to maintain or restore at least half of the authorized channel width or the central 250 feet of the channel on the Crossings. (Federally authorized channel dimensions remain 45 feet deep by 500 feet wide.)
DUSTPAN DREDGES WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
HURLEY: The government dustpan dredge HURLEY continues dredging the central 250 feet of channel at Baton Rouge Front Crossing (Mile 232 AHP). The HURLEY commenced dredging on the Crossings on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE continues dredging the central 250 feet at Bayou Goula Crossing (Mile 198 AHP). The dustpan dredge began dredging on the Crossings on May 20, 2021.
JADWIN: The government dustpan dredge is expected to commence dredging at Belmont Crossing (Mile 154 AHP) later this week (Thursday, June 24, 2021). The dustpan is presently working on the shallow-draft project at the Bayou Sorrel Lock Forebay.
INDUSTRY HOPPER DREDGES WORKING IN THE AREA OF SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
NEWPORT: The industry hopper dredge NEWPORT (Manson Construction) continues dredging near the Venice Jump from Mile 10.5 AHP to Mile 10.0 AHP under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #7-2020. This contract was awarded to the Manson Construction in Fiscal Year 2020 to perform channel maintenance in Fiscal Year 2021. The NEWPORT began work under this contract on April 3, 2021.
GLENN EDWARDS: The GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) continues to undergo repairs in dry dock. The hopper dredge is expected to return in August (2021) to complete work under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #3-2020. This contract was awarded in Fiscal Year 2020 to perform channel maintenance in Fiscal Year 2021. The GLENN EDWARDS began work under this contract on May 7, 2021.
GOVERNMENT HOPPER DREDGE WORKING IN THE AREA OF SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
WHEELER: The government hopper dredge WHEELER is dredging on multiple assignments in Southwest Pass. The hopper dredge is working between assignments in the following reaches: Mile 6.8 BHP to Mile 8.4 BHP; Mile 14.1 BHP to Mile 15.1 BHP; and from Mile 19.5 BHP to 20.2 BHP. The WHEELER started dredging under Readiness Exercise #2 2021 in SWP on Wednesday, June 16, 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 8.0 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 by 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).
MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHIP CHANNEL DEEPENING PHASE 1:
The Phase 1 areas of the Ship Channel have all been deepened to 50 feet through the use of the four dredges listed below. The USACE utilized three contracts to deepen the Ship Channel from Venice to the Gulf of Mexico (Phase 1). 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). The details on the dredge contracts worked under Phase 1 of the historic river deepening project are detailed below:
Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #1-2020: was awarded to Weeks Marine on August 20, 2020. This contract was completed by the cutterhead dredges CAPTAIN FRANK that dredged from September 11, 2020 until March 3, 2021 and the E.W. ELLEFSEN that dredged from November 18, 2020 until March 19, 2021.
Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020: was awarded to Manson Construction on August 27, 2020. The cutterhead dredge ROBERT M. WHITE dredged under this contract from October 23, 2020 until completion on March 18, 2021.
Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #9-2020: was awarded to Manson Construction on September 21, 2020. The GLENN EDWARDS worked under this deepening contract from January 14, 2021 until completion on May 7, 2021.
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1000 hours today was 10.35 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.08 feet. The highest crest recorded on the Carrollton Gauge in 2021 to date is 15.44 feet at 1700 hours on April 16, 2021. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today forecasts stages will continue a slow fall to 6.9 feet on July 19 (2021).
The Carrollton Gauge did quickly spike as Tropical Strom Claudette moved across the New Orleans area with a storm related crest of 11.36 feet recorded at 2100 hours on Friday, June 18, 2021. (A spike of about one foot was attributed to the storm conditions and is noted in the attached Carrollton Gauge Year to Date Plot.)
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1100 hours today was 28.56 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.35 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 stages will continue a slow fall to 19.2 feet on July 19 (2021).