Last Friday, September 6, Major General Diana Holland, Commander of the South Atlantic Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, signed the Record of Decision for the Mobile Harbor General Reevaluation Report (GRR) with Integrated Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).
The recommended plan modifications consist of the following:
- Deepen the existing Bar, Bay, and River Channels by 5 feet to project depths of 52, 50, and 50 feet, respectively, with an additional 2 feet for advanced maintenance plus 2 feet of allowable overdepth for dredging (total depths of 56, 54, and 54 feet, respectively).
- Incorporate minor bend easings at the double bends in the Bar Channel approach to the Bay Channel.
- Widen the Bay Channel from 400 feet to 500 feet at a depth of 50 feet (with an additional 2 feet for advanced maintenance plus 2 feet of allowable overdepth resulting in a total depth of 54 feet) from the mouth of Mobile Bay northward for 3 nautical miles to provide a two-way traffic area for passing.
- Expand the Choctaw Pass Turning Basin 250 feet to the south at a depth of 50 feet with an additional 4 feet for advanced maintenance plus 2 feet of allowable overdepth for dredging (total depth of 56 feet) to better accommodate safe turning of the design vessel and other large vessels.
The recommended plan also includes a minimum of 1.5 million cubic yards of suitable new work dredged material for beneficial use projects that have been approved and permitted by the proponents through the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012, (RESTORE), NOAA’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), or National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) programs.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will next execute a Design Agreement with the Alabama State Port Authority to begin the Preconstruction, Engineering, and Design phase.
Construction on the modifications could begin in late 2020.