The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues working to restore authorized channel dimensions across the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC). The USACE officially began Phase 2 of the Mississippi River Ship Channel Deepening Project on October 8, 2021, when the government dustpan dredge JADWIN began deepening the Ship Channel to 50 feet at Smoke Bend (Mile 175 Above Head of Passes [AHP]).
MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHIP CHANNEL DEEPENING PHASE 2:
The USACE during a meeting with representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, pilot associations and navigation stakeholders formalized a revised logistical approach to Phase 2 of the MRSC deepening operations. The adjusted Phase 2 assignments will deepen the four southernmost (downriver) of the Crossings Above New Orleans. Specifically, a reach of the Ship Channel from Smoke Bend (Mile 175 AHP) to Fairview Crossing (Mile 115 AHP). The Phase 2 deepening began at Smoke Bend with the government dustpan dredge JADWIN and was followed by the government dustpan dredge HURLEY at Belmont Crossing (Mile 154 AHP). The dustpans will soon be joined by the hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS at Fairview Crossing (early November 2021). The Phase 2 dredging operations will deepen a reach of the Ship Channel extending a few miles above New Orleans to an area near Donaldsonville (Louisiana).
DUSTPAN DREDGES WORKING ON DEEPENING THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
JADWIN: The dustpan dredge JADWIN continues dredging to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel to 50 Feet at Smoke Bend (Mile 175 AHP). The JADWIN began Phase 2 of the MRSC Ship Channel deepening to 50 feet on October 8, 2021.
HURLEY: The government dustpan dredge HURLEY continue a Phase 2 deepening assignment at Belmont Crossing (Mile 154 AHP). The HURLEY started work under Phase 2 of the Ship Channel deepening to 50 feet on October 10, 2021.
The NOBRA and Federal Pilots are limiting the use of the Belmont Anchorage to one vessel on the lower end at the request of the USACE. The USACE requested this adjustment to provide unlimited access to the HURLEY while it is working on deepening at Belmont Crossing. The assignment at Belmont is expected to be completed over the next two to three weeks.
DUSTPAN DREDGES WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE completed the channel maintenance assignment at Sardine Point yesterday. The dustpan then moved upriver to begin dredging full channel dimensions near the Arlington Lights (Mile 226 AHP) at 1330 hours yesterday afternoon (October 26, 2021). The dustpan began dredging on the Crossings on May 20, 2021.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER SHIP CHANNEL DEEPENING PHASE 1:
The USACE has requested that the owners of the three previously identified obstructions in the Venice Corridor provide new surveys to document accurate depths over the two pipelines and utility cable. The lack of accurate depth of cover survey data over the three remaining obstructions continue to delay the mechanically deepened channel being opened up to deeper vessel traffic. The channel deepening effort now depends on accurate survey data that will provide integrity to the maximum draft decision-making process.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE UPDATES:
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1100 hours today was 3.89 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.02 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today forecasts a slow fall in stages to 3.9 feet on November 1 before beginning another rise expected to crest at 6.0 feet on November 14 before beginning a slow fall to 4.9 feet on November 24 (2021). The highest crest recorded on the Carrollton Gauge in 2021 to date is 15.44 feet at 1700 hours on April 16, 2021.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1200 hours was 9.67 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.20 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today forecasts a slow fall to 8.9 feet on November 2 and to then begin a rise expected to crest at 13.2 feet on November 13 and to then begin a slow fall back down to 9.8 feet on November 24 (2021).