June 20th marked the anniversary of the signing of the Feasibility Cost-Sharing Agreement between the Charleston District and the South Carolina State Ports Authority which kicked off the feasibility phase of the Charleston Harbor Post 45 study. The feasibility study, which will determine if it is both economically beneficial and environmentally acceptable to the nation to deepen Charleston Harbor, has undergone many advancements in its first year.
On July 11th, the District hosted a stakeholder’s reception and press conference to update the public on where the project currently stands and where it is headed in the future. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued new guidance for all feasibility studies which will help streamline the planning process.
“[The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters] are scrutinizing our portfolio of planning studies to determine how we complete those studies that have the highest value to the nation, and implementing a ‘3-3-3’ rule—studies completed within three years, at a cost of $3 million or less, and involving three layers (districts, divisions and headquarters),” said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, Deputy Commanding General, Civil and Emergency Operations, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The revised process will ensure studies are completed in less time without jeopardizing the quality of engineering, environmental and economic analysis.
All feasibility studies completed by the Corps will follow this guidance unless the project receives a waiver. Only when a waiver is received are studies allowed to be an exception. The Post 45 project is currently under review to receive a waiver. With this new guidance from Corps headquarters, it is exciting for the Charleston District to be at the forefront of this new, streamlined civil works planning process.
The District has worked quickly and efficiently to expedite the process from the beginning. The event served as a great medium for relaying the important messages from the Corps. Check out some of the photos from the events.
Notable First Year Highlights:
• Received more than 80 public comments at the public scoping meeting
• The USGS began collecting data in the harbor for us
• Hosted meeting with the Charleston Harbor and Docking Pilots and the SCSPA to receive their input early on in the process to help guide the development of alternatives
• Have held and will continue to hold Interagency Coordination Team (ICT) meetings to obtain input and discuss information that will be used to assess potential impacts.
• Two design vessel classes have been selected which will be used to drive our selection of a recommended alternative
• Have gone from $150,000 to $12 million in funding