Spotlight on USACE’s hopper dredger Wheeler

The Wheeler, which normally docks at the U.S Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District headquarter, is heading up the Mississippi River to conduct engine testing, such as pulling away from the dock and proceeding slightly up and down river for various engine loading scenarios.

USACE photo

The Wheeler is a Large Class trailing suction hopper dredge whose main purpose is to remove shoaling from the bottom of navigation channels to maintain reliable channel depth for deep draft navigation.

The dredger keeps waterway channels clear from Key West, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas.

Although the dredge is maintained in a state of readiness for worldwide operations, it spends the majority of its time operating in the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, dealing with shoaling problems that occur during high and low water.

On a good operating day, the Wheeler can remove 100,000 cubic yards of material, or about 7,000 dumptruck loads, from a project site.