The Port of Virginia’s Wider, Deeper, Safer project to deepen and widen the Norfolk Harbor’s commercial shipping channels has secured full federal authorization with this week’s approval by the President of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.
“The project’s inclusion in the bill clears the path for The Port of Virginia to become the deepest and safest port on the U.S East Coast. The dredge work will take the inner harbor’s commercial channels to 55 feet deep and the channel in the Chesapeake Bay to 56 feet deep. Further, the channel will be widened to as much as 1,400 feet in select areas, which will allow for two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels. The project’s target completion date is 2025,” the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) said in their latest release.
Commenting the news, John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, said: “Virginia’s inclusion in this legislation will ultimately provide us the means to better serve our ocean carrier customers by allowing them to sail the biggest ships in their fleets to Virginia. When Wider, Deeper, Safer is coupled with the $700 million investment we are making to expand capacity at our main container terminals, cargo owners throughout the Mid-Atlantic and the nation’s Heartland benefit because the speed of exports and imports flowing through Virginia will increase.”
The Port of Virginia said that they appreciate the partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the efforts of the entire Virginia Congressional delegation to advance this project and meet the needs of ultra-large container vessels already calling the port.
With the support of Gov. Ralph S. Northam and the Virginia General Assembly, the project’s engineering and design is underway with construction scheduled to begin in January 2020.