Charleston deepening project on track for 2022 completion

Col. Jason Kelly, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division commander, met with congressional representatives and the South Carolina Ports Authority yesterday to discuss updates to the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project.

The Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project has progressed more quickly than any federal deepening project to date.

According to Jim Newsome, president and CEO of SC Ports, deepening work is well underway and progressing toward a 52-foot depth in late 2021.

In fall 2017, USACE Charleston District awarded the first two construction contracts of $47 million and $214 million to Great Lakes Dredging Co. to deepen the Entrance Channel to 54 feet. Dredging work began in February 2018.

In August 2019, the Corps awarded the third dredging construction contract of $124 million to Norfolk Dredging Co. This will create a 52-foot depth from the Lower Harbor up Wando River to Wando Welch Terminal.

Work also involves widening the turning basin of the Wando River from 1,400 feet to 1,650 feet, allowing two 14,000-TEU-and-above ships to easily pass one another without restrictions.

Future contracts will involve achieving a 52-foot depth from Charleston Harbor up the Cooper River to the future Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston, set to open in 2021, and then dredge to a 48-foot depth from the Leatherman terminal to the North Charleston Terminal.

The project is scheduled to finish in fall 2022. Once complete, Charleston Harbor will be the deepest on the East Coast, accommodating some of the world’s largest container ships.

Photo: SCPA