The Big River Coalition is committed to protecting commerce across the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MRT). The Coalition focuses on maximizing transportation efficiencies on the deep-draft ship channel from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico. As concerns grow about the future management of the Mississippi River system and efforts are increased to help reduce or prevent adverse impacts related to flood protection, protecting water supplies, recreational boating, fishing, invasive species, coastal restoration, and minimizing the negative impacts of runoff and pollutants, it is critical to the nation’s economy that navigation remains unimpeded. The best economic estimates available indicate that the MRT has over a $735 billion annual impact on the economy of the United States. Therefore, as visions of the future of the MRT are shaped, it is imperative that navigation representatives strive to ensure that systematic approaches protect maritime trade by maintaining fully authorized channel dimensions while also updating and maintaining our navigation infrastructure, specifically the locks and dams along the MRT. The Big River Coalition missions are focused on securing increased funding from the Harbor Maintenance Tax and the Inland Users Fuel Tax, efforts to deepen the Lower Mississippi River to 50 feet and to increase the beneficial use of dredge material or “sediment recycling.”

The industry cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK officially began the historic deepening of the Mississippi River Ship Channel on the evening of September 11, 2020 when it started dredging at Mile 5 Above Head of Passes (AHP).  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) awarded Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #1-2020 to Weeks Marine on September 3, 2020. This was the first contract awarded for the historic deepening of the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 feet. The USACE awarded the second deepening contract for a cutterhead dredge to Manson Construction for their cutterhead dredge ROBERT M. WHITE on September 8, 2020.  The USACE intends to deepen the Ship Channel in the area of Southwest Pass (Venice to the Gulf of Mexico) with a total of three dredge contracts. Specifically, the two cutterhead dredge contracts mentioned above and Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #9-2020 that was awarded to Manson Construction for their large hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS.

The attached document details the present timeline for the deepening of the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 Feet and was developed with the assistance of the Project Managers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley New Orleans (New Orleans District). The deepening on the Crossings of the pipelines and the channel will be critical to the accuracy of this timeline, adjustments and updates will be provided if the timeline does change.

Please review the attached document for complete details.