Please accept this update regarding current plans related to scheduled channel closure(s) on the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC), the schedule remains the same as lost broadcast (Tuesday, August 17, 2021).
The cutterhead dredge C.R. McCASKILL (Weeks Marine) is expected to dredge a trench across the MRSC at approximately Mile 9.8 Above Head of Passes (AHP) beginning this afternoon, this dredging operation does not require a channel closure.
Through communication between the Crescent River Port Pilots Association, the Federal Pilots and Docking Masters of Louisiana and Weeks Marine and cooperation of the Bar Pilots vessel traffic will be moved through the area of this dredging assignment with one-way coordinated vessel traffic.
Weeks must complete dredging this trench so that the submerged dredge pipeline can be inserted across this area during the scheduled channel closures as detailed below:
The dredge contractors for the Coastal Restoration Protection Authority’s Spanish Pass Marsh and Ridge Creation project, Weeks Marine, LLC intend to install a submerged dredge pipeline across the Mississippi River Ship Channel at approximately Mile 9.8 Above Head of Passes (AHP).
A complete closure of the Ship Channel from approximately Mile 10.3 AHP to Mile 9.0 AHP is expected to be implemented during a 12-hour closure to be scheduled from 0600 hours to 1800 hours on Tuesday, August 17, 2021.
The second closure date listed below (August 19) will only be used as a back-up closure and is not expected to be required if the dredge pipeline is successfully installed during the first closure (August 17, 2021).
UPCOMING SCHEDULED CHANNEL CLOSURE(S):
TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2021:
0600 hours to 1800 hours: all vessels would be restricted from transiting between Mile 10.3 AHP and Mile 9.0 AHP on the Mississippi River Ship Channel, the submerged dredge pipeline will be inserted across the Ship Channel into a previously excavated area. The intent is to allow east west shallow-draft traffic to move across the area through Baptiste Collette and the Venice Jump, the closure would be specific to the Ship Channel.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 19, 2021: (Will only be utilized if the dredge pipeline operations are not completed on August 17, 2021.)
0600 hours to 1800 hours: all vessels would be restricted from transiting between Mile 10.3 AHP and Mile 9.0 AHP on the Mississippi River Ship Channel, the submerged dredge pipeline will be inserted across the Ship Channel and a previously excavated area. The intent is to allow east west shallow-draft traffic to move across the area through Baptiste Collette and the Venice Jump, the closure would be specific to the Ship Channel.
ON AUGUST 17:
Vessels intending to arrive or depart the Mississippi River on the day of a scheduled closure must arrive at Boothville (outbound) no later than 0500 hours or Southwest Pass Entrance Light (inbound) no later than 0330 hours on the morning of the scheduled Ship Channel closure(s).
These closures have been rescheduled a few times as Weeks worked through some unforeseen challenges. The cutterhead dredge C.R. McCASKILL has just completed assignments in the New Orleans Harbor and at the forebay of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal and is expected to excavate the pipeline corridor over the next few days (weekend). The C.R. McCASKILL will dredge this trench and then move into dredge the shallow-draft assignment at Baptiste Collette and once completed there is expected to move back into place in the area of the Lower Venice Anchorage.
Vessels needing to contact Weeks Marine for details during these operations can reach the NOEL R (Crew Boat) on VHF Channel 67 or Channel 82.
The U.S. Coast Guard will issue a Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) prior to the final closure dates, detailing the official Ship Channel closure information related to this submerged dredge pipeline installation project.