The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officially started the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) to 50 feet on September 11, 2020.
Weeks Marine started work under the first dredging contract for the deepening project with their cutterhead dredge Captain Frank at Mile 5.0 Above Head of Passes (AHP).
“This project represents an incredible partnership between the federal government, Congress, industry, and the State of Louisiana,” said Colonel Stephen Murphy, Commander of the USACE New Orleans District.
“By deepening the Mississippi River Ship Channel even by just five feet (to 50-ft) the National economy will see benefits to the tune of approximately $127 million annually. With a benefit-to-cost ratio of 7.2-to-1, the project will pay for itself in two years.”
The USACE continues working to restore or maintain the Ship Channel in areas on the Crossings Above New Orleans with the dustpan dredges Jadwin and Wallace McGeorge.
The project will allow larger vessels using the widened Panama Canal to reach Louisiana ports as far north as Baton Rouge.
Funding for the approximately $250 million project has been allocated through a variety of sources.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has committed $81 million.