President Barack Obama recently signed into law the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, authorizing the Brownsville Ship Channel deepening project, making it eligible for federal funding.
The Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project was one of 28 water infrastructure projects nationwide included in the WRDA and submitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to Congress for approval.
The project calls for the Port of Brownsville channel to be deepened to 52 feet from its current design depth of 42 feet. When complete, the Port of Brownsville will become one of the deepest ports in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The deepening of the channel strengthens the port’s infrastructure and increases our global competitiveness. It is a catalyst for greater economic opportunities for our entire Rio Grande Valley,” said John Wood, Brownsville Navigation District Chairman.
In 2006, the Brownsville Navigation District began a feasibility study with the USACE to assess the deepening and widening of the channel. The proposal was approved in November 2014 by the USACE, which stated that the project would result in significant economic advantages for commercial navigation in South Texas.
Completion of the channel deepening will allow the port to accommodate deeper draft cargo vessels carrying heavier loads, which translates to a greater economic impact per vessel for the region.