Alabama’s seaport modernization program began construction last week to deliver a deeper and wider Mobile Ship Channel and improve the lower harbor turning basin by the year 2025.
USACE has executed two construction contracts in a multi-phase, $365.7 million construction program engineered and designed to deepen the existing Bar, Bay and River Channels Bar, by five feet each to a project depth of 50 feet, with additional depths for wave allowances, advanced maintenance and allowable over depth for dredging (total depths of 56, 54 and 54 feet, respectively).
The project also includes widening the Bay Channel by 100 feet (328.08m) for three nautical miles to accommodate two-way vessel traffic and other safety improvements, Yellowhammer News reports.
“We extremely excited to see material moving on this crucial project,” stated John C. Driscoll, director and CEO for the Alabama State Port Authority.
“This project along with the collaborative support of our federal and state partners, will provide our customers and our carriers the necessary infrastructure to ensure their market competitiveness.”
The work represents a $53.9 million contract for dredging operations running a distance of 12 miles north of the planned widening area between Dauphin Island and south of the intersection of the Channel and Theodore Industrial Canal.
The contractor, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, will utilize hopper and mechanical (bucket) dredges over the next 18 months.
The next construction phase is tied to an $8.3 million contract awarded in September 2020.
The contractor for this phase is also Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, which will dredge approximately 2.2 miles of the bar channel utilizing hopper dredges.
This work is expected to begin in June or early July this year.