With navigation through Belle Pass compromised due to siltation, the Greater Lafourche Port Commission (GLPC) has taken the proactive step to contribute funds to the Corps of Engineers to procure a dredge contract to bring portions of Belle Pass back to their appropriate depth.
This work, being performed by Crosby Dredging under the direction of USACE, is unique because GLPC is providing the majority of the funding to perform a job that is typically done through the Corps’ Operations and Maintenance Budget for Belle Pass, as they are responsible for this federally authorized channel.
“Although the Corps does have a little over $900,000 in Operations and Maintenance funding for Belle Pass in its budget, it isn’t near enough to cover the over $3 million cost to bring it back to an acceptable draft, which is 27 feet, up from the 22 feet that it is currently at now,” GLPC Executive Director Chett Chiasson said. “That is why the Commission approved a Memorandum of Agreement with the Corps to fund $2.1 million of the project.”
This emergency dredging, which will begin this week, is expected to be completed by January 6, 2021, according to the contractor on site. However, the west side of the channel is expected to be at full depth within the next two weeks to facilitate navigation for larger vessels.
The Port Commission and Port Fourchon Harbor Police are currently working with the Corps and dredging contractor Crosby Dredging to ensure that this project goes smoothly, with as little interruption to vessel traffic as possible.