Governor Charlie Baker, together with local elected officials and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) officially kicked off the Boston Harbor Dredging Project on Friday, September 15.
The $350 million state and federally funded multi-phase project will support continued growth at Conley Container Terminal, which has achieved three consecutive record breaking years for volume.
“Deepening Boston Harbor and supporting infrastructure investments at Conley Container Terminal are crucial to Massachusetts and New England’s competitiveness in the global marketplace,” said Governor Baker. “We are proud to work with our state and federal partners toward these improvements, supporting billions in economic activity and over 1,600 businesses creating thousands of local jobs.”
Project plans include maintaining the inner harbor, and deepening the outer harbor, main shipping channel and reserved channel to allow for larger container ships already calling Conley Container Terminal following the expansion of the Panama Canal.
“A deeper harbor means more container traffic, and that means more economic growth. It’s good for Greater Boston, it’s good for the Commonwealth, and it’s good for the entire region,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “I was glad to partner with Massport and the Port of Boston and to fight for federal funding for this project, and I’m excited to see it begin.”
The overall project to deepen Boston Harbor will cost approximately $350 million, including $130 million from Massport and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and $220 million in federal funding, including $18.2 million allocated in the USACE’s FY 2017 workplan and $58 million included in the President’s FY’18 budget. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has contracted with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock to perform the work.
Economic development legislation proposed and signed by Governor Baker last year also permitted $107.5 million for Massport infrastructure investments at Conley Container Terminal, including the construction of a new berth and procurement of three new cranes to accommodate new, larger cargo ships.
The first phase of the project consists of maintenance dredging, including the construction of a Confined Aquatic Disposal (CAD) Cell just off the shore of the Autoport in Charlestown, which will safely hold tons of sediment from the floor of the harbor. This work is expected to continue through the end of the year.
The second phase of the project, scheduled to begin in mid-2018, will deepen the Outer Harbor Channel, from 40 to 51 feet; the Main Shipping Channel, from 40 to 47 feet; and the Reserve Channel, where Conley Container Terminal is located, from 40 to 47 feet. Currently, Conley is able to handle 8,500 TEU ships – this project will allow it to handle up to 12,000 TEU vessels.