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Posted 12/6/2017

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By Sean McBride


In the last two months, the Charleston District announced the award of the two construction contracts for work in the Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel as part of the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project.

The first award was issued in September, amounting to $47 million and granted to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, LLC. The work under this contract will remove approximately six million cubic yards of material from the Entrance Channel. It is anticipated that hopper dredges will be utilized for construction under this contract and all dredging work under this contract is required to be completed by spring 2020. Due to the presence of threatened and endangered species, hopper dredge operations are restricted to an environmental dredging window, generally from December to March each year.

“We were very excited to have awarded the first contract for dredging that will start deepening Charleston Harbor,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Palazzini, district commander. “The Charleston District team has been diligently working on this locally-, regionally- and nationally-important project with the South Carolina Ports Authority since well-before I took command, so I’m proud to see their hard work come to fruition.”

The second award, made in October, was for $213 million, also to Great Lakes, for the removal of approximately 7.95 million cubic yards of material from the Entrance Channel. This was the largest contract ever awarded by the Charleston District. A variety of dredges, including hobber, cutter head and bucket, will be used for this contract.

The requirements of this contract include the placement of dredged rock material to create nine artificial reefs, for a total of approximately 265 acres of hard bottom habitat, and a berm around the ODMDS, which will create more than 400 acres of additional hard bottom.  

“The Entrance Channel phase will be the most time-consuming, so our team has been working diligently on ensuring we keep the project schedule on track so that the entire project remains on time and on budget,” said Palazzini. “This award is a testament to the professionals and dedication of the District’s employees and especially the project delivery team. We will continue to work hard to deliver this extremely important project in the most-efficient manner possible.”

Execution of the two contracts will achieve the newly authorized depth of 54 feet throughout the more than 20 mile long Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel. The dredged material will primarily be placed in the Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site offshore.

These contracts will complete the deepening of the Entrance Channel and are part of the overall $529 million project cost. Depending on full-funding, dredge availability, weather and a variety of other factors, the construction of the entire project will take 40-76 months. A timeline for the dredging of the upper and lower harbors has not yet been finalized, but is planned to take place concurrently during a portion of the timeframe required to complete the Entrance Channel.

The Post 45 project has been a priority for the Charleston District since 2010 and is the first large navigation project in the country to be completed from start to finish under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ new streamlined civil works planning process. This project will serve as a role model for deep draft navigation projects around the world. This new process allowed us to save more than $7 million and five years, while still providing greater efficiencies and safety to waterborne commerce in our harbor.

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