The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District, began a $2,455,000 maintenance dredging contract yesterday to relieve channel draft restrictions in the Brazos Island Harbor (Brownsville Ship Channel) navigation project.
“Unanticipated shoaling within the federal ship channel prompted the Brazos Santiago Pilots Association (Brownsville Harbor pilots) to issue a draft restriction limiting vessels calling the Port of Brownville to a draft of 37.5 feet,” said Chris Frabotta, chief of the USACE Galveston District’s Navigation Branch. “We are aware that the imposed draft restrictions have significant economic impact on the port and acted to solicit a dredging contract to address these navigational safety hazards and relieve the restriction.”
The contractor is required to remove approximately 340,000 cubic yards of shoaled material from the jetty channel reach to relieve the current draft restriction.
Frabotta noted that under this contract scope, the dredged material will be placed in the shallow waters of the near-shore berm (open water area close to the beach) to allow the dredged material to move toward the beach and provide benefit to the shoreline (located in shallow Gulf waters adjacent to South Padre Island).
“We will continue to work closely with our non-federal sponsor (Port of Brownsville) to ensure the channel remains open for navigation and with our other project stakeholders (City of South Padre Island, Texas General Land Office and Cameron County Parks) to make every attempt possible to place future channel maintenance material on the adjacent shoreline of South Padre Island,” said Frabotta.
Press Release, April 2, 2014