The effort to make The Port of Virginia the deepest and safest port on the U.S East Coast continues to advance as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers yesterday issued its critical, final authorization to move ahead with the Wider, Deeper, Safer project.
According to the Port, the Army Corps’ Chief of Engineers’ Report is the final federal review of the project and clears the way for the deepening and widening of the commercial shipping channels serving the Norfolk Harbor.
The positive report allows the project to be included in the federal Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill, which is a larger list of projects eligible for federal matching funds. The projects in the WRDA bill that receive funding are determined during the federal budget process.
The largest ships in the Atlantic trade are already calling Virginia, but the added depth will allow for even bigger vessels and their safe, uninterrupted passage to and from the harbor. The dredging project will take the channels to 55 feet deep and widen the channels in select areas to allow for two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels.
The project will be executed in two phases. The preliminary engineering and design ($20 million) is the first phase and is expected to take 18-24 months and the dredging phase ($330 million), which has a 2024 target completion date.