Shaheen Pushes for Rye Harbor Dredging Project

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to speed up dredging projects for two Seacoast harbors in the coming year.

Earlier this week, Shaheen led a letter with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan and Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R. D. James, requesting that two critical water infrastructure projects – the Rye Harbor Maintenance Dredging Project and the Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Navigation Improvement Project – be prioritized in the Army Corps of Engineers’ fiscal year 2020 Work Plan.

The two agencies develop an annual work plan to address high-need projects following the implementation of government funding legislation.

The delegation wrote: “In the Granite State and the surrounding region, Rye Harbor and Portsmouth Harbor serve a tremendous value, supporting local businesses, creating jobs and ensuring public safety. However, the demand for maintenance at both of these waterways has disrupted their usability and daily operations.”

Since last being dredged in 1990, Rye Harbor has experienced significant shoaling, threatening the regional economy and public safety. Further delays to the dredging project could potentially cause the harbor to become nonfunctional.

Due to the narrow width of the uppermost turning basin on the Piscataqua River, vessels navigating the river, including liquefied petroleum gas tankers and other bulk shippers, face significant safety risks and transit restrictions, which adds additional cost to cargo shipped into the ports.

The Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Navigation Improvement Project would widen the turning basin from 800 feet to 1,200 feet, which would improve navigation safety and have a beneficial effect to the economy of New Hampshire and the surrounding region.

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