Portland Harbor Dredge fails to receive funding

After years of study, planning, design, and permitting work, the Portland Harbor Dredge and CAD project failed to make the list of approved projects announced by the US Department of Transportation under the $900m BUILD program.


The project has been under discussion for decades, with consistent staff and constituent efforts toward its funding since 2014.

The scheme proposes to comprehensively dredge public and private piers, wharfs, marinas, and vessel support areas in Portland Harbor.

Most of these areas have not been dredged within living memory and a significant amount of vessel berthing has been lost to natural and human influenced sedimentation, said the City of Portland, ME.

Material removed from the vessel support areas would be disposed of in a newly constructed “confined aquatic disposal” (CAD) cell in Portland Harbor, which was also included in the project.

Commenting the latest news, Bill Needelman, City of Portland Waterfront Coordinator, said: “We’re disappointed, but the collaboration leading to our application and the quality of the material presented were both excellent and we plan to resubmit our proposal for consideration again next year.”

“The team strongly believes in the project and we have no doubts as to its needs and merits.” 

The total price tag is estimated at $30 million dollars with $3 million committed by the State of Maine, $3 million to come from the pier and marina owners, and the balance requested from the US Department of Transportation through the BUILD program.

The application was filed by the Cities of Portland, South Portland, the Portland Harbor Commission, and support from the Maine Department of Transportation and over 30 private pier and marina owners.