The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) officially commenced the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) to 50 feet on the evening of September 11, 2020. Weeks Marine started work under the first dredging contract of the deepening project with their cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK at Mile 5.0 Above Head of Passes (AHP). The USACE continues working to restore or maintain the Ship Channel in areas on the Crossings Above New Orleans with the dustpan dredges JADWIN and WALLACE McGEORGE
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) WORKING MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHIP CHANNEL DEEPENING:
The USACE intends to deepen the Ship Channel with a total of three dredges, specifically the two cutterhead dredges listed below and one hopper dredge to be named at a later date. Manson Construction is the apparent low bidder to Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract that was re-advertised earlier today, the hopper dredge is expected to start dredging in July 2021.
CAPTAIN FRANK: The industry cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK officially commenced the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 feet. The CAPTAIN FRANK is presently located at Mile 4.46 AHP and dredging on assignment from Mile 5 AHP to Mile 1 Below Head of Passes on the western side of the channel. The USACE awarded Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #1-2020 to Weeks Marine on Thursday, September 3, 2020.
ROBERT M. WHITE: The bid opening for Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020 was held on August 27, 2020 and the contract was awarded to Manson Construction on September 8, 2020. Manson is expected to start work under this deepening contract with their cutterhead dredge ROBERT M. WHITE later this month (September 2020).
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
R.S. WEEKS: The cutterhead dredge R.S. WEEKS is expected to resume dredging in the HDDA shortly, the dredge is onsite but wanting for a break in the weather to connect to the dredge pipeline. Weeks Marine has utilized multiple cutterhead dredges on this project and all material removed from the HDDA has been beneficially placed in the Pass A’Loutre Wildlife Management Area (PALWMA). The cutterhead dredges have beneficially utilized approximately 13.1 million cubic yards (mcy) of material removed from the HDDA and restored roughly 1,040 acres. When this project is completed approximately 1,200 acres will have been restored in the PALWMA. Weeks has approximately 1.9 mcy of material left to remove under this contract.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
The USACE continues dredging to restore or maintain at least the central 250 feet of the channel on the Crossings as river stages continue to fall (authorized width is 500 feet).
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge continues dredging operations on the central 250 feet of the channel at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224.0 AHP). The dustpan dredge is expected to start dredging full channel dimensions at Alhambra Crossing (Mile 190.5 AHP) this Friday (September 25, 2020). While the dredge is working at Alhambra Crossing the White Castle Anchorage (Mile 191.1 AHP to Mile 190.4 AHP) will be off limits for vessel usage. The NOBRA and Federal Pilots intend to have the White Castle Anchorage cleared of vessels by 0600 hours on Friday, September 25, 2020 and to keep it clear until dredging operations are completed. The WALLACE McGEORGE commenced dredging on the Crossings on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
JADWIN: The government dustpan dredge continues dredging full channel dimensions at Philadelphia Crossing (Mile 183 AHP). The JADWIN began dredging on the Crossings on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
HURLEY: The government dustpan dredge HURLEY continues resume dredging the shallow-draft channel at Tunica Bluff (Mile 294 AHP). Traffic is moving in both directions with coordination of the U.S. Coast Guard and navigation industry. The HURLEY is also expected to dredge the shallow-draft area at Wilkerson Point Mile 235 AHP before returning to the Crossings in early October. The HURLEY commenced dredging on the Crossings on June 29, 2020 departed for Victoria Bend on July 18, 2020 and resumed dredging on the Crossings on August 3, 2020. The dustpan dredge then departed for Winchester on August 23, 2020.
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1200 hours today was 6.31 feet with a 24-hour change of + .04 feet. NOAA’s National Weather Service’s Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today forecasts a slow fall to 4.0 feet on October 19, 2020.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1300 hours today was 13.88 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.12 feet. NOAA’s National Weather Service’s Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today predicts a slight rise of about 6 inches before beginning a slow fall to 9.9 feet on October 19, 2020.