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 seventy-five percent (75 %) of Phase 1 of the deepening project. 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. The last status update including tables and a diagram of the 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 that could be deepened to 50 feet through the use of cutterhead dredges have been completed. The remaining Phase 1 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 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 dredge contracts worked under Phase 1 of the historic river deepening project are detailed below:
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 has worked on the deepening project since January 14, 2021.
INDUSTRY HOPPER DREDGES WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
STUYVEASNT: The industry hopper dredge STUYVESANT (Dutra Group) continues dredging on assignment on the jetty end of SWP 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. The STUYVESANT began work under this contract on March 24, 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 in mid-April (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 3.0 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 1000 hours today was 13.77 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 Carrollton Gauge issued today predicts a steady rise until cresting at 14.50 feet from April 4 to April 7 and then beginning a slow fall to 11.8 feet on April 28 (2021).
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1000 hours today was 36.55 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.33 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 from April 4 to April 5 and then beginning a slow fall to 30.5 feet on April 28 (2021).