Home > Missions > Civil Works > Charleston Harbor Post 45

Post 45 Draft Report/Environmental Impact Statement Comments

Name: *
Email: *
Address: *
Draft FR/EIS Comment: *
* required Submit   Cancel      

Charleston Harbor Post 45 Overview

The Charleston Harbor deepening project, better known as Post 45, began with a Congressional add to the President’s fiscal year 2010 budget allowing the Charleston District to complete a reconnaissance study.

The reconnaissance report demonstrated that a large percentage of the vessels currently using Charleston Harbor are tide-restricted and concluded that there was federal interest in performing a feasibility study to determine what future depth of the harbor can best reduce transportation inefficiencies and provide the most benefit to the nation. Since 2006, the average per-vessel tonnage has increased by about 25 percent for all vessels and by about 27 percent for the deepest drafting vessels. This large shift in vessel size was not anticipated in the last feasibility study (1996), which resulted in a recommendation at that time to deepen the federal channels from 40 feet to the currently authorized and maintained 45 foot depth.

In 2011, the Charleston District began the multi-year feasibility study to determine if deepening Charleston Harbor is both economically beneficial and environmentally acceptable to the nation. The study is cost-shared 50-50 between the Charleston District and the project’s sponsor, the South Carolina State Ports Authority, and conducted by the Charleston District.

Post 45 will be one of the first projects in the nation to be completed from start to finish under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ streamlined civil works planning process, which aims to deliver solutions to water resources problems quicker and at lower costs.

The Charleston District has released the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (FR/DEIS) for Post 45. The Draft FR/EIS proposes a tentatively selected plan to deepen the major shipping channels within the harbor from 45 to 52 feet at an estimated cost of $509 million. The cost would be shared between the federal government and the South Carolina State Ports Authority at $166 million and $343 million, respectively.

The cargo transportation industry continues its shift to increased use of standardized containers used for multimodal (marine, rail, and truck) freight transportation systems. Additionally, the marine vessel fleet is trending to larger, deeper-draft vessels, particularly for containerships. The federal channels serving Charleston Harbor’s major terminals are currently authorized to a depth of 45 feet mean lower low water. The existing dimensions of those channels place constraints on deeper-drafting containerships, which result in reduced efficiency and increased costs. Benefits are generated by addressing inefficiencies in the existing transportation system to lower transportation costs. The tentatively selected plan maximizes these benefits while avoiding, minimizing, and compensating for adverse environmental impacts.

With Charleston Harbor being the fourth busiest East Coast port for container traffic with 1.5 million TEU/year, number seven of all U.S. ports for cargo value at $65 billion/year and generating more than 260,000 jobs in South Carolina, it is easy to understand why so many people have taken an interest in the future of the harbor.

The Corps has maintained Charleston Harbor for more than 140 years and has dredged it every year during that time to ensure the channel is at the required federal project depth, spending approximately $10-15 million and removing 2-3 million cubic yards of maintenance material from the harbor floor each year. Construction to deepen the harbor to the now federally authorized 45 foot depth began in 1999 and was completed in 2004.

Public Commenting

The US Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, has prepared a Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (FR/EIS) for the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Study. The purpose of this feasibility study is to investigate modification of the existing Charleston Harbor project in the interest of navigation improvements. The Charleston District published the Notice of Availability of the Draft FR/EIS on October 10, 2014 in the Federal Register, which initiated the public review and comment period where the Corps is soliciting comments on the Draft FR/EIS from the concerned public, stakeholders, and resource agencies. The 45-day comment period ends on November 24, 2014. Comments can be submitted using one of the following methods:

1.   Submitting a comment through the form on this webpage, beginning October 10th

2.   Send an email to Chas-Post45-Comments@usace.army.mil

3.   Mail in comments to: Post 45 Comments, Planning and Environmental Branch, 69A Hagood Ave., Charleston, SC 29403

4.   Provide comments at the public meeting scheduled for October 21, 2014 at Citadel Alumni Center, 69 Hagood Avenue, Charleston, SC  29403

 

Post 45 Photos

Post 45 Contact Info

Contact Info:

Civil Works Project Management
69A Hagood Ave
Charleston, SC 29405
CESAC-PM@sac.usace.army.mil

Call the Charleston District - 866.329.8187

Draft Report and EIS

To access the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, please click on the appropriate links:

Main Report

Supplemental Materials:

Appendix A- Engineering Attachments

Appendix B- Geotechnical Attachments

SCDNR Benthic Survey of Charleston Harbor

USACE-ERDC - Wetland Classification Study

USFWS Coordination Act Report

Sediment Sampling Final Report

Geophysical Investigation, Hardbottom Resources and Cultural Resources (Phase 1)

Cultural Resource Investigation Phase 2