Port of Long Beach dredging project included in the budget
The Port of Long Beach is kicking off 2023 with plenty to celebrate. After years of planning, the port has finally received Federal Authorization for its Channel Dredging Project.
On Dec. 23, President Joe Biden signed into law the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022, the biennial legislation authorizing federal flood control, navigation and ecosystem improvements that include the Port’s Channel Deepening Project.
“We are grateful to members of the House and Senate and the Army Corps who championed this bill, the many lawmakers from both parties who voted for it and President Biden,” said Board of Harbor Commissioners President Sharon L. Weissman. “Their overwhelming support recognizes how vital international trade through the Port of Long Beach is to the U.S. economy.”
The dredging project is one of only five navigation projects nationwide that met the goals of the Corps’ rigorous planning process to make the cut for construction authorization under the new water resources law.
“This project will widen and deepen the harbor serving one of the world’s top 10 busiest container port complexes,” said Port Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Increasing the safety and efficiency of vessels transiting our waterways supports our mission to remain competitive while reducing pollution from port-related operations.”
The Port’s Channel Deepening Project has been in the works for more than eight years and is an essential component of the Port’s Master Plan. Key elements include deepening the Long Beach Approach Channel from 76 to 80 feet, easing turning bends in the Main Channel to deepen a wider area to 76 feet, deepening parts of the West Basin from 50 to 55 feet, constructing an approach channel and turning basin to Pier J South with a depth of 55 feet, improving the breakwaters at the entrance to Pier J, and depositing dredged material in nearshore sites for reuse or in federally approved ocean disposal sites.
Federal authorization of the project allows the port and the Corps to proceed with engineering agreements, detailed planning and budgets, bidding and awarding construction contracts and procuring funding.
In the coming year, the port and USACE are expected to execute a design agreement and initiate the design work. Construction is projected to start in 2027 and take approximately three years.