The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues working on the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) to 50 feet. The USACE has completed more than seventy-five percent (75 %) of Phase 1 of the MRSC deepening. 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 completion of Phase 1 of the Ship Channel Deepening is expected to open up the first 150-175 miles of the Ship Channel to vessels with deeper drafts. A status update with tables and a diagram of the Channel Deepening Project issued by the USACE on March 19, 2021 is here.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHIP CHANNEL DEEPENING PHASE 1:
The Phase 1 areas of the Ship Channel being deepening to 50 feet that could be dredged by cutterhead dredges have been completed and the remaining areas will all be deepened by the hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction). The USACE will deepen the Ship Channel from Venice to the Gulf of Mexico (Phase 1) with a total of three dredge contracts, specifically the two cutterhead dredge contracts detailed below and the one for the hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS. The cutterhead dredges have completed their Phase 1 deepening assignments. The USACE expects to complete the deepening project in four progressive upriver phases to the upper end of the MRSC at Mile 233.8 AHP (Baton Rouge).
The details on the cutterhead dredges work on Phase 1 of the historic river deepening project are as follows:
Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #1-2020 was awarded to Weeks Marine on August 20, 2020. The cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK dredged under this contract from
September 11, 2020 to March 3, 2021 and the E.W. ELLEFSEN dredged on this deepening contract from November 18, 2020 and completed the last assignment on March 19, 2021.
Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020 was awarded to Manson Construction on August 27, 2020. The cutterhead dredge ROBERT M. WHITE worked on this contract from October 23, 2020 until completion on March 18, 2021
HOPPER DREDGES WORKING ON DEEPENING IN THE AREA OF SOUTHWEST PASS:
GLENN EDWARDS: The GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) continues working on assignment from Mile 13.2 AHP to Mile 12.0 AHP under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #9-2020. The GLENN EDWARDS will complete the final portions of the Ship Channel deepening project. The hopper dredge is also under contract for Fiscal Year 2021 channel maintenance and will be moved between the two contracts by the MVN dependent upon channel conditions. The GLENN EDWARDS began dredging on the deepening project in Southwest Pass on January 14, 2021.
INDUSTRY HOPPER DREDGES WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
STUYVEASNT: The industry hopper dredge STUYVESANT (Dutra Group) commenced dredging in SWP on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 and is working on assignment from Mile 18 BHP to Mile 22 BHP. The STUYVEASNT is working under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #6-2020 that was awarded to the Dutra Group in Fiscal Year 2020 for channel maintenance in Fiscal Year 2021.
NEWPORT: The industry hopper dredge NEWPORT (Manson Construction) is expected to begin dredging in SWP by April 10, 2021. The NEWPORT will be working under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #7-2020 that was awarded to the Manson Construction in Fiscal Year 2020 for channel maintenance in Fiscal Year 2021.
GOVERNMENT HOPPER DREDGES WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
WHEELER: The USACE’s hopper dredge WHEELER has been delayed again and is now expected to begin dredging in SWP under Readiness Exercise #1-2021 on April 6, 2021. Readiness Exercise #1 is tentatively scheduled from April 6 to April 27 (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 used approximately 2.5 million cubic yards (mcy) of material from the HDDA under Hopper Dredge Disposal Area Cutterhead Rental Contract #1-2019. The contract includes the removal of 10 mcy in the base with options to add an additional 4 mcy. The project is expected to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022. The material is beneficially being used in the West Bay Receiving Area through a submerged dredge pipeline that will have to be removed up completion of the project. The pipeline retrieval will require at least one complete closure on the Ship Channel in the immediate vicinity of the submerged pipeline (Mile 2.0 AHP to Mile 0 – the Head of Passes).
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1300 hours today was 13.52 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.08 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today predicts a steady rise until cresting at 15.0 feet on April 5 and then beginning a slow fall to 12.4 feet on April 23 (2021).
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1400 hours today was 35.87 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.04 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today predicts a steady rise until cresting at 37.5 feet on April 4 and then beginning a slow fall to 31.3 feet on April 23 (2021).