The Port of Coos Bay is proposing to deepen and widen the Federal navigation channel through its $400 million Coos Bay Channel Modification Project.
According to Mike Dunning, port director of maritime operations, the project will expand the existing channel from -37’ depth and 300’ width to -45’ depth and 450’ width from the channel entrance to river mile 8.2.
Currently, the port is in the engineering and design phase of the Coos Bay Channel Modification project, coordinating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the new long-term maintenance dredging of the channel.
Mike Dunning continued by saying that the modification of the channel will provide multiple opportunities for economic development in the South Coast. The increase in width and depth will allow existing and projected future cargo vessels to have less restricted access to berths and terminals, reducing delays and increasing the efficiency of port operations.
The channel modification will also increase loading efficiencies for existing and future cargo vessels, which would allow industries to transport freight at lower unit costs.
Under the current schedule, dredging activities are slated to begin in late 2019 and conclude in 2022. But before dredging begins the Corps will need to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the potential impacts associated with the project.
The last deepening project modifying the Coos Bay Navigation Channel was from 1996 to 1998, increasing the authorized channel depth from -35’ to -37’.