Meeting on Blair Waterway Navigation Study Set for January 17

Officials with the Port of Tacoma and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, will hold a public informational meeting on January 17 to outline the feasibility study and environmental assessment for potential improvements to the Blair Waterway.

Image source: USACE

According to an official announcement, such improvements could include deepening and widening to increase big-ship access along the waterway.

At the meeting, officials will explain the scope of the study, the USACE’s general investigation study process and opportunities for public involvement. USACE and Port of Tacoma are seeking feedback on issues the public would like analyzed during the alternatives evaluation process.

The purpose of the Tacoma Harbor study is to investigate potential navigation improvements to the Blair Waterway to provide transportation cost savings for larger vessels calling at the Port.

The Blair Waterway is currently authorized to -51 feet. Larger vessels have draft requirements deeper than -51 feet when fully laden, and therefore face tidal delays and other transportation inefficiencies when arriving and departing. By accommodating more fully-loaded vessels, transportation costs could decrease, ultimately leading to a more cost-efficient and competitive transportation system.

The Corps-Port general investigation feasibility study will determine whether there is a federal interest in participating in a cost-shared modification of the existing Tacoma Harbor in the interest of navigation improvements and water resource development opportunities.

The meeting is set to take place at Fabulich Center, 3600 Port of Tacoma Road in Tacoma, Washington.