The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, yesterday signed a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the South Carolina Ports Authority, which finalizes the responsibilities for both agencies on the upcoming Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project and officially starts the construction phase.
A PPA is a legally binding agreement between the federal government and a non-federal sponsor for the construction of a water resources project. It describes the project and the responsibilities for both sides in terms of cost sharing and execution of work.
For the Post 45 project, the estimated cost-share for the construction portion of the project will be $330 million for the federal government and $199 million for the SCPA, making the total project cost approximately $529 million.
“We’re excited to begin the construction phase of the Post 45 project,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Palazzini, Charleston District commander. “The signing of the PPA allows us to stay on track with our budget and timeline for eventually deepening the federal channel of Charleston Harbor to 52 feet.”
The PPA allows the Charleston District to receive funding from the SCPA and begin spending federal funds allocated by the fiscal year 2017 work plan. This includes allowing for the use of advanced funds from the SCPA for the federal share in addition to the non-federal share of the construction costs.
At the moment, the Charleston District has received $17.5 million in federal funding from the FY 17 Work Plan. The PPA also allows the Charleston District to open bids and award contracts for the construction work.
“We’ve advertised the first and second contracts for the dredging of the entrance channel, which is where construction will begin,” said Holly Carpenter, project manager. “We are planning to award both contracts sometime this fall, depending on funding and acceptable bids from industry.”
The award of the first contract this fall by the Charleston District will enable dredging construction to begin in the entrance channel in December.
Depending on full-funding, dredge availability, weather and a variety of other factors, the construction of the entire project will take 40-76 months. A timeline for the dredging of the upper and lower harbors has not yet been finalized, but will take place concurrently during a portion of this timeframe, said USACE.