Charleston, SC- Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District received approval of the fiscal year 2011 work plan that includes federal funding of $150,000 to initiate the feasibility study for the Charleston Harbor Post 45 project. The Charleston District will now begin the multi-year feasibility study to determine if deepening the harbor is both economically beneficial and environmentally acceptable. If the study determines that deepening the harbor is feasible, the harbor could be deepened to depths that would allow deeper-draft post-Panamax vessels to access the harbor.
The feasibility study will be cost-shared 50/50% with the project sponsor, the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA). In the coming weeks, the Charleston District and SCSPA will sign the Feasibility Cost-Sharing Agreement (FCSA) that will officially allow the study to begin. The Charleston District will complete the study, which will identify the National Economic Development (NED) plan that maximizes the net benefits to the nation as a result of deepening the federal channel, which is currently authorized to be dredged to 45 feet.
“We are excited to have received the money needed to initiate the feasibility phase for the Post 45 project,” said Lt. Col. Jason A. Kirk, Commander and District Engineer at the Charleston District. “We look forward to signing the agreement with the SCSPA and continuing the process required to decide if deepening Charleston Harbor is economically feasible and environmentally acceptable.”
The Charleston District completed the reconnaissance phase of the project in 2010 which showed federal interest in conducting a feasibility study for the Post 45 project. Until completion of the feasibility study, the Charleston District cannot determine a specific depth to which Charleston Harbor could be deepened.
The Corps has maintained Charleston Harbor for more than 130 years and has dredged it every year during that time to ensure the channel is at the required federal project depth. Each year, approximately 2-3 million cubic yards of maintenance material are removed. The Charleston District spends $10-15 million each year maintaining the depth.
For more information or questions, please contact the Charleston District’s Corporate Communications Office at 843-329-8123.
Release no. 11-0501