Savannah Harbor Expansion Project nears end

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) is approximately two weeks from completion, Georgia Ports Authority said.

Georgia Ports Authority

The project deepens the Savannah River, providing greater scheduling flexibility for vessel transit.

Georgia Ports Authority photo

The scheme will deepen the Savannah Harbor federal shipping channel from a depth of -42 feet to -47 feet.

Studies demonstrate that the deepening will produce substantial economic benefits for the nation by enabling larger and more heavily-loaded vessels to call on the harbor with fewer tidal delays.
The total project cost estimate is currently $973 million.

The SHEP is expected to net more than $282 million in annual benefits to the nation and has a benefit-to-cost ratio of $7.30 for every $1 invested. Costs of the studies and construction are shared between the U.S. government and the state of Georgia. 

Environmental mitigation features include:

  • installing a dissolved oxygen system;
  • constructing a fish bypass upstream at the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam;
  • re-routing freshwater flow in the upper harbor;
  • preserving 2,245 acres of freshwater wetlands for the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge;
  • recovering remnants of the CSS Georgia civil war ironclad that rested some 40 feet below the river’s surface.