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  December 30th, 2015 | Written by

Charleston Harbor Deepening Project Reaches Milestones

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  • Charleston harbor deepening project marked the beginning of its preconstruction engineering and design phase.
  • Preconstruction engineering and design includes ship simulations, coastal monitoring and analysis of dredge material.
  • At 52 feet, SCPA will be able to handle fully-loaded post-Panamax container ships without tidal restriction.

This signing of the preconstruction engineering and design agreement and passage of the omnibus appropriations bill with construction funding for Charleston marked significant milestones for the 52-foot Charleston Harbor Deepening Project.

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District (USACE) signed the design agreement, an important step marking the official beginning of the project’s preconstruction engineering and design phase (PED).

PED is the final major phase of the deepening process before construction begins, with work activities to include ship simulation studies, refinement of cost estimates, coastal monitoring and analysis of beneficial use of dredged material. Utilizing initial federal funding appropriated in July, PED work is already underway and is expected to be substantially completed by the end of next year.

“The container shipping industry’s deployment of big ships is evident, and the southeast needs a harbor deeper than 50 feet to accommodate fully-loaded post-Panamax container ships,” said SCPA president and CEO Jim Newsome. “At 52 feet, SCPA will be able to handle vessels of this size without tidal restriction and continue volume growth above the national average. We thank the Army Corps of Engineers for its tireless efforts and look forward to the timely completion of PED followed by significant progress on construction by the end of the decade.”

The deepening project also received positive news with Congress’ passage of the omnibus appropriations bill. The bill includes necessary funding for construction of harbor deepening, as well as operations and maintenance dollars that allow the deepening project to continue moving forward without delay.