Today, the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project went before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Review Board in Washington, D.C., and received unanimous approval of the Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement.
The Final Report will now be released to state and local resource agencies for a 30-day review period.
Upon review from the agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chief of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, will sign the Chief’s Report in September, which will then be presented to Congress.
The next step in the project is the initiation and completion of the Preconstruction Engineering and Design Phase. Once the Chief’s Report is transmitted to Congress, authorization and funding appropriation will need to be secured to begin the Construction Phase of the Post 45 project.
“Today was a big step in the process for Charleston Harbor to be deepened,” said Lt. Col. John Litz, Charleston District commander. “Having the approval from the Civil Works Review Board allows us to stay on track with our timeline and move forward with our deepening recommendation. This approval is a reflection of the tremendous work completed by our innovative Post 45 team that has exceeded all expectations throughout this process.”
“Today’s approval by the Civil Works Review Board allows our harbor deepening project to progress without delay,” said Jim Newsome, the South Carolina Ports Authority President and CEO. “Once deepening to 52 feet is realized, Charleston will offer the deepest harbor on the East Coast with the capability to serve fully-loaded post-Panamax vessels 24 hours a day. Our deepening project, coupled with significant SCPA investments in landside infrastructure and terminal capacity, supports SCPA cargo volume growth more than twice the national port average. We are fortunate to have great partners in US Army Corps of Engineers, whose collective expertise and commitment was demonstrated today.”
In October 2014, the Charleston District released the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement to the public, which recommended deepening the federal channel portion of Charleston Harbor to 52 feet.
A public meeting was held and more than 600 comments were received during the public review period. Comments have been included and addressed in the Final Report.
The Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project is the first project in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to go through the Corps’ new Civil Works Planning Process from start to finish.
This has enabled the Charleston District to reduce the initial timeline estimate of five to eight years down to less than four years, and reduce the initial estimated budget from $20 million to less than $12 million dollars.
This project will serve as a model for Corps civil works projects around the world.