The 52-foot Charleston Harbor Deepening Project yesterday received its final approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the signing of the Chief’s Report, required for the project to progress through construction.
The Chief’s Report approves the 52 foot depth recommendation made by the Corps, Charleston District in the Final Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, released in June to address transportation inefficiencies.
The Chief’s Report was signed by Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, Chief of Engineers for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Chief’s Report finalizes the recommendation to deepen most of the inner harbor portions of the federal channel within in Charleston Harbor to 52 feet.
After review by the Office of Management and Budget as part of the Administration’s review, it will be presented to Congress to consider authorization and appropriation. Once a design agreement is signed with the project’s sponsor, the South Carolina Ports Authority, the project can officially move into the Preconstruction Engineering and Design Phase.
Initial federal funding for the PED Phase was received in July. The PED phase will refine and finalize the design of the recommended modifications to the federal channel for Charleston Harbor. Work completed during this phase will include ship simulations, beneficial use analysis, finalizing cost estimates, and generating plans and specifications.
“By the end of the decade, we will achieve 52 feet of depth and Charleston will be the deepest harbor on the East Coast. This depth advantage will provide our customers with 24-hour access to deepwater, a requirement for significant long-term volume growth in today’s big-ship environment,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “We are grateful for the expertise and leadership of our partners, the US Army Corps of Engineers, who deliver today’s news just four years after we began the deepening process.”
This new process 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 $19 million to less than $11.75 million dollars.