As a result of the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District received $103 million for operation and maintenance work on the Calcasieu River channel.
“The Calcasieu River ship channel, serving nearly 50 companies operating in the Port of Lake Charles, is one of Nation’s most important deep-draft waterways,” said Col. Michael Clancy, commander of the New Orleans District. “These greatly-appreciated funds will allow us to repair the channel’s infrastructure and maintain authorized dimensions necessary for continued safe and reliable navigation.”
Approximately $26 million of the funding will be used to dredge the shipping channel to its authorized dimensions to promote safe passage for the tankers and other vessels while $10 million will be applied toward maintenance of the project’s Dredge Material Placement Facilities (disposal sites).
The remaining funds will be used to undertake a variety of rock projects, including construction of protection dikes on Calcasieu Lake and repairs to existing protection dikes along the channel to protect the disposal sites from wave erosion as well as to prevent the disposal sites from failing into either the lake or the channel.
Additionally, USACE will repair the entrance rock jetties located at the bar channel in the Gulf of Mexico. These jetties help protect large vessels from cross-currents as they enter the Calcasieu River from the Gulf of Mexico.
The funding received from the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act will address much needed operation and maintenance dredging and repairs along the channel. Additional work not included in the supplemental funding will still be required to secure the channel’s future reliability, reported the Corps.
This additional work includes addressing an existing shortage in sediment disposal capacity by rebuilding the 21 disposal sites located along the 36-mile channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Charles.
According to USACE, funding for this work must be obtained through separate construction- designated funding and requires a 25% cost share from the non-Federal sponsor – the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District (LCHTD) acting on behalf of the state of Louisiana.