The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) awarded a contract to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock (GLDD) to dredge material contained in the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA) at the Head of Passes. The cutterhead dredge ILLINOIS is expected to be utilized on this HDDA dredging project to remove up to 14 million cubic yards (mcy) of material. The HDDA must be dredged so that the hopper dredges working to maintain the Mississippi River Ship Channel in the area of Southwest Pass can dispose of the sediment removed from the navigation channel in an authorized disposal area.
The Big River Coalition has previously advised that this project and the required channel closures were forthcoming.
The schedule below is dependent upon the cutterhead dredge completing a project in Grand Isle (LA) on Friday, January 8, 2021, if the work at Grand Isle is completed as scheduled the following closure schedule should be implemented.
During the first closure the ILLINOIS will dredge a trench across the Ship Channel between Mile 1.4 Above Head of Passes (AHP) and Mile 1.2 AHP and the second closure will be utilized to place the submerged dredge pipeline across (and under) the Ship Channel and into the trench.
The first closure will last 6-hours immediately followed by a 6-hour period of one-way transits through the area identified as Mile 2.0 AHP to Mile 0 (Head of Passes) on the western side of the Ship Channel.
Vessels intending to arrive or depart the Mississippi River on the day of a scheduled closure must arrive at Pilottown (outbound) no later than 0400 hours or Southwest Pass Entrance Light (inbound) no later than 0330 hours on the morning of the scheduled closures.
TENTATIVE CHANNEL CLOSURE SCHEDULE:
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2021:
0600 hours to 1200 hours: all vessels are restricted from transiting between Mile 2.0 Above Head of Passes and Mile 0 (Head of Passes).
1200 hours to 1800 hours: all vessels are limited to one-way traffic along the west side of the Ship Channel between Mile 2.0 AHP and Mile 0 (Head of Passes).
“On January 13, all vessels shall contact the on-scene pilots stationed on the M/V ILLINOIS via VHF-FM channels 67 or 82 to make passing arrangements.”
THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2021:
NORMAL VESSEL TRAFFIC WITH NO TRANSIT RESTRICTIONS (expected).
FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2021:
0600 hours to 1800 hours: all vessels are restricted from transiting between Mile 2.0 AHP and Mile 0 (Head of Passes).
More details including a confirmation of the closure schedule will be issued along with a Marine Safety Information Bulletin as issued by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans upon receipt.