The USACE Baltimore District, in coordination with the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA), is holding a public meeting February 24 to provide information on the Seagirt Loop Channel Deepening Feasibility Study draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (EA).
The study examined navigation efficiencies and transportation cost savings that could be gained by improving the Seagirt Loop Channel to better accommodate the ultra large container vessels, or “Post-Panamax vessels”, calling at SMT.
These vessels can carry twice the cargo capacity and require deeper water depths than the ships that were used to design the current access channels to the SMT and have a greater risk of grounding, collision, allision, and marine casualties.
Along with these risks, efficiency delays have resulted in limitations to operations within Baltimore Harbor.
The study area includes 32-square miles of Baltimore Harbor, including the navigable parts of the Patapsco River below Hanover Street, the Northwest and Middle Branches, and Curtis Bay and its tributary, Curtis Creek, as well as the associated Port.
USACE and MDOT MPA will present two proposed plans detailed in the draft report;
- the Tentatively Selected Plan, which proposes widening and deepening of the West Seagirt Branch Channel (WSBC) to a federally authorized depth of at least 47 feet mean lower low water (MLLW);
- the Locally Preferred Plan, which proposes widening and deepening of the WSBC to complete the Seagirt Loop Channel at an authorized depth of at least 50 feet MLLW.
The draft Integrated Feasibility Report and EA is available to the public for a 30-day review and comment period.