USA: Port of Long Beach Deepening Project Reaches Major Milestone

Dredging of the Main Channel and a key turning basin for ships in the Port of Long Beach has been completed, marking a major milestone in an ongoing $40 million project by the Port and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve navigation and the environment in the harbor.

The project has provided a minimum depth of 76 feet (23.2 meters) from two miles outside the harbor entrance at Queens Gate all the way into the Middle Harbor and East Basin serving the crude oil terminal on Pier T, improving access for oil tankers and creating one of the deepest harbors among U.S. seaports. The deeper, wider channel and basin also provide additional, safer access for the world’s largest container ships to call in Long Beach.

This is a critical project for the Port of Long Beach. It greatly enhances the Port’s capabilities and navigational safety,” said Doug Thiessen, Port of Long Beach Managing Director of Engineering.We’ve been very fortunate to develop a strong and successful working partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers that has resulted in some major improvements to this harbor.”

Clearly the Port’s vision for improving the environment and providing for future commercial needs must be commended,” said Col. Mark Toy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Commander. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is thankful to the Port of Long Beach and the City of Long Beach for entrusting us with the construction management for crucial port and city projects. Today we celebrate a project and a partnership that continues ‘Building Strong’ and taking care of people.”

The 17-month dredging project (expected to be completed before the end of 2011) has generated about 180 jobs. About $35 million of the project’s cost was provided by the Port of Long Beach, with $2.6 million from the Army Corps of Engineers and $2.4 million in federal economic stimulus funds. The Army Corps has also been providing project construction management.

The dredging was performed by Manson Construction Co. The majority of the dredge work was done hydraulically, powered by environmentally friendly on-shore electricity instead of diesel engines.

With completion of the dredging of the Main Channel and Middle Harbor Turning Basin, fully laden tankers can now come directly to berth without first stopping offshore to unload part of their cargo, so vessel security and environmental safety have been enhanced. Before, the turning basin was not deep enough to allow these tankers to enter the Port fully loaded.

“The Main Channel Deepening Project is a huge improvement to navigational safety, enabling us to pilot modern supertankers in and out of the Port safely,” said Captain Thomas A. Jacobsen, President of Jacobsen Pilot Service Inc., which provides port-piloting service in Long Beach. “Very few ports in the world have a main channel and turning basin of 76 feet. This allows ships to safely transit at a maximum draft of 69 feet. We are very happy to have this completed.”

In addition to the Main Channel deepening, the project has included dredging to improve navigation at the Catalina Express ferry landing in downtown Long Beach and the removal and environmentally safe containment of 660,000 cubic yards of decades-old contaminated sediment in the harbor, left over from the former Navy station in Long Beach.

A total of 1.5 million cubic yards of dredged-up sediment is being beneficially reused within the Port to create needed new land area. This eliminates transportation-related air pollution that would have been generated by trucking out the old sediment and moving in new fill. The additional land at Pier G is providing for an expanded on-dock rail yard, which will reduce truck trips and emissions. The overall project fits in with the Port’s Green Port Policy to protect habitat and reduce environmental impacts.

[mappress]

Source: polb, October 10, 2011

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