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 over four utility pipelines and one utility cable that cross under the Ship Channel in this Venice Corridor between Mile 12.0 AHP to Mile 11.0 AHP. The USACE has reached out to the owners of the identified obstructions and is attempting to gain integrity on the depth of these obstructions. 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. The dustpan dredges are currently working to maintain federally authorized channel dimensions on the Crossings, which remain 45 feet deep by 500 feet wide, for now. The USACE expects to commence Phase 2 of the MRSC deepening to 50 feet at Fairview Crossing (Mile 115 AHP) in September.
DUSTPAN DREDGES WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE commenced dredging the central 250 feet of channel at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224 AHP) at 1200 hours today. The dustpan began dredging on the Crossings on May 20, 2021 and worked privately from August 16 to August 18 for the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and then resumed dredging on the Crossings on August 19 (2021).
JADWIN: The government dustpan dredge JADWIN continues dredging full channel dimensions (500 feet) at Belmont Crossing (Mile 154 AHP). The JADWIN dredged on the Crossings from June 24 to July 17 (2021) before being released to complete repairs and resumed dredging on the Crossings on August 1, 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 utilized approximately 11.0 million cubic yards (mcy) of material from the HDDA under Hopper Dredge Disposal Area Cutterhead Rental Contract #1-2019. This assignment is expected to be completed by early next week and the submerged dredge pipeline’s retrieval will begin next week.
The removal will require two 12-hours full channel closures in the vicinity of Mile 2 Above Head of Passes to Mile 0 (Head of Passes).
The submerged dredge pipeline retrieval will require two complete closures of the Ship Channel in the immediate vicinity of the submerged pipeline (Mile 2.0 AHP to Mile 0 – the Head of Passes). These complete channel closures have been slightly delayed with the tentative schedule now planned to occur from 0600 hours to 1800 hours on Tuesday, August 31 and Thursday, September 2 with a back-up closure scheduled for Saturday, September 4. The back-up closure would only be utilized if the scheduled operations on the previous two days were not successful. A document detailing the expected parameters of these closures as prepared by the Big River Coalition is attached.
The U.S. Coast Guard is expected to issue a Marine Safety Information Bulletin covering the official details on these closures later this week.
The contract detailed the removal of 10 mcy in the base and the USACE recently awarded an option to add an additional 2 mcy to this assignment. The material is beneficially being used in the West Bay Receiving Area through the submerged dredge pipeline that will be removed upon completion of the project as detailed above.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE UPDATES:
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1200 hours today was 3.64 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.06 feet. 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 rise to a crest of 4.8 feet on September 1 and then resume a slow fall to 2.4 feet on September 21 (2021).
The highest crest recorded on the Carrollton Gauge in 2021 to date is 15.44 feet at 1700 hours on April 16, 2021. The lowest stages of the year to date are presently occurring.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1300 hours today was 11.39 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.60 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today forecasts stages will rise to a crest of 15.8 feet on September 1 and then resume a slow fall to 8.5 feet on September 21 (2021).