The removal of a 1970s-era structure from the Savannah River’s Back River marks another major milestone in the deepening of the nation’s fourth busiest container port, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, said in their latest release.
The work also returns the Back River to its natural width to enhance the area for fish habitat, according to USACE.
Removal of the tide gates on the Back River is the latest mitigation feature to be completed for the massive improvement of the Savannah harbor.
The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) will deepen the harbor and entrance channel from 42 feet to 47 feet, allowing larger neo-Panamax container ships to enter the harbor with fewer tidal restrictions.
“By removing the tide gates we restored the Back River to its natural state,” Spencer Davis, Project Manager for the SHEP, said. “This is the first part of the flow re-routing measures in the SHEP, designed to protect freshwater marshes in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge from saltwater intrusion.”
While removing the tide gates, workers recycled some of the concrete by placing it in the Back River to enhance fish habitat. The wider channel also slows river flow which also enhances fish habitat, according to Davis.
The $21.3 million project, performed by the Miami –based DeMoya/Continental Joint Venture, came in under budget and on-schedule, moving the deepening of the harbor another major step forward, added the project manager.
Workers removed more than 3,200 tons of concrete and more than 650,000 cubic yards of soil and placed approximately 130,000 tons of rock along the 3,000 feet of shoreline in both Georgia and South Carolina.