The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Savannah District announced yesterday that the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) advanced another step with the completion of the first navigation feature on July 10.
The $6.5 million effort raised a dike in a major dredge material containment area to prepare the area to receive large amounts of material from the bottom of the inner harbor. The removal of this material will result in a new channel depth of 47 feet below mean sea level, or 5 feet deeper than its current depth, said USACE.
The SHEP will allow newer, larger cargo vessels to enter and leave the harbor more easily and with heavier loads than currently allowed.
The dike raising, a 400-day effort, used approximately 500,000 cubic yards of fill material to increase the height of the containment walls. This enables greater capacity for the dredged material containment area known as 14A which is located on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River.
With the completion of this feature the groundwork is prepared for beginning the SHEP’s most significant feature: Inner Harbor Dredging.
“The sooner we complete the SHEP, the quicker our nation will realize its full economic benefits, an estimated net value of $282 million every year,” said Mackie McIntosh, Chief of Civil Works in Savannah District. “The completion of our first navigation feature is an indicator that this project is on its way to yielding a large return on investment not only for Savannah and the southeast but also for the nation.”
The district has also recently completed two environmental mitigation features of the SHEP. Those include the acquisition and transfer of 2,256 acres of wetlands to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier in July, and a payment of $2.9 million in March 2015 for additional striped bass stocking in the river.
Work continues on a number of other SHEP features, to include:
- Deepening of the Savannah Harbor’s Entrance Channel and extending it 7.1 miles, now 59 percent complete, (scheduled for completion in the fall of 2018);
- Recovery of the remains of the CSS Georgia at 90 percent complete (scheduled to wrap up Aug. 3);
- Dissolved Oxygen Injection System at 45 percent complete (scheduled for completion in December 2017);
- Raw Water Storage Impoundment at 86 percent complete (scheduled for completion in October 2017);
- Removal of the Tidegate in the Sediment Basin at 71 percent complete (scheduled for completion in December 2017).