The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Port of Seattle signed an agreement yesterday moving forward with a $3 million cost-shared feasibility study to investigate potential Port deepening alternatives.
In March 2012, the Corps’ preliminary report found there is federal interest in potentially deepening Seattle Harbor’s East and West Waterways and this feasibility study will determine if there is an economically-justifiable alternative. Seattle District Commander Col. John Buck and Port of Seattle Chief Executive Officer Tay Yoshitani signed the agreement.
“The Port of Seattle greatly appreciates the Corps of Engineers in starting this study,” said Yoshitani. “This is another step in keeping the Pacific Northwest a competitive trade gateway, and keeping thousands of local jobs here.”
The President included the feasibility study in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget and Congress gave the green light to pursue it in their annual Fiscal Year spending bill. It is the second of several studies the Corps is required to complete in its process. The process provides multiple opportunities for public outreach and input.
Authorized waterway depths are currently between -34 and -51 feet mean lower low water (MLLW). The study will investigate to depths of -55 feet MLLW, taking into consideration economics, cost, risk, environmental aspects, cultural resources, fish habitat, endangered species, geotechnical, coastal engineering and cost engineering.
The Corps and the Port will split the cost equally and the study should be complete in three years. When complete, the feasibility report will include a net benefit analysis and the required National Environmental Policy Act documentation will disclose any environmental effects of deepening the existing channel.
Press Release, September 30, 2014