The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently awarded a cutterhead dredge rental contract to Weeks Marine to remove 4 million cubic yards (mcy) in the base of the contract with options to add up to another 4 mcy of dredged material to be removed from the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA). Weeks Marine will utilize the cutterhead dredge E.W. ELLEFSEN to begin work on this dredge contract with submerged dredge pipeline operations scheduled to begin the first week of October 2022.
The Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) as issued by the U.S. Coast Guard details the documented navigation restrictions related to the HDDA submerged dredge pipeline installation project.
The diagram details the location of the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA) and the plan to install a submerged dredge pipeline from the HDDA (eastern side) to the West Bay Receiving Area (western side).
There will be two days of one-way traffic utilized to dredge a trench for the submerged dredge pipeline on the western side of the Ship Channel (details attached) followed by two scheduled 12-hour complete channel closures required to dredge a trench on the eastern side of the Ship Channel and then to install the submerged dredge pipeline across the Ship Channel (east to west) to pump the removed dredge material from the HDDA into the West Bay Receiving Area.
All of the removed dredge sediment will be beneficially used in the West Bay Receiving area and is expected to create approximately 600 acres of new marsh in the West Bay Receiving Area.
The pipeline installation will require two 12-hour full channel closures for all vessel traffic intending to transit this reach of the Ship Channel on the dates listed below. The submerged dredge pipeline will be inserted across the Ship Channel between Mile 1.4 AHP and Mile 1.2 AHP.
SCHEDULED CHANNEL RESTRICTIONS AND CLOSURES:
- SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2 and MONDAY, OCTOBER 3: One-Way Traffic from Mile 2 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to Mile 0 (Head of Passes) for all vessels transiting this reach of the Mississippi River Ship Channel. This period will be utilized by Weeks Marine to have the cutterhead dredge dig a trench on the western side of the Ship Channel that the submerged dredge pipeline will eventually be inserted into.
- TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2022: Complete Channel Closure from 0600 hours to 1800 hours for all vessel traffic from Mile 2 AHP to Mile 0 (Head of Passes). This closure will be utilize by Weeks Marine to have the E.W. ELLEFSEN dredge on the eastern side of the Ship Channel that will be utilized to insert the dredge pipeline sufficiently deep enough to ensure the top of the pipeline is installed at or below 59.5 feet Mean Lower Low Water in the trench.
- WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2022: NO CHANNEL RESTRICTIONS expected.
- THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2022: Complete Channel Closure from 0600 hours to 1800 hours for all vessel traffic from Mile 2 AHP to Mile 0 (Head of Passes). This closure will be utilized to install the submerged dredge pipeline into the cross-channel trench.
Based on the Marine Safety Information Bulletin: Vessels intending to arrive or depart the Mississippi River on the day of a closure must arrive at Pilottown (outbound) no later than 0530 hours or Southwest Pass Entrance Light (inbound) no later than 0400 hours on the morning of the closure.
Please accept this notice of the upcoming 12-hour complete Ship Channel closures from Mile 2 Above Head of Passes to Mile 0 (Head of Passes) on October 4th and
October 6th (2022). Weeks Marine will provide updates on days of closures to assist in resuming deep-draft traffic if the submerged dredge pipeline or dredging operations might be completed earlier than scheduled.