The past two months have been huge for the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project. Getting deeper and deeper into the phases of the project, the project hit two major milestones, which has officially moved Post 45 from the Feasibility Phase to the Preconstruction Engineering and Design Phase.
In December, on a cold evening, Lt. Col. Matthew Luzzatto, Charleston District commander, and Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, signed the Design Agreement for Post 45 in front of a beautifully lit Christmas tree. Signing the Design Agreement, which laid out the funding plan, officially moved the project into the PED Phase.
“This was a big milestone for the Post 45 project and the Charleston District,” said Luzzatto. “With the Design Agreement signed, we can stay on track with our streamlined planning process and continue to work with our partners at the SCPA to reach the end goal of an improved, deeper harbor for Charleston.”
Just after the turn of the New Year, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy signed the Record of Decision for Post 45, which is the official notification to Congress that all requirements for the project had been met and it was now awaiting authorization.
“We’re proud to be heading this charge to deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet,” said Luzzatto. “Post 45 was one of the first seven projects that the President’s Administration expedited under its ‘We Can’t Wait’ initiative in 2012, which put an emphasis on completing studies for infrastructure projects more efficiently and effectively, and we’ve done just that.”
Post 45 was also the first study to be completed by the Corps entirely under the new SMART Planning process, as part of the Corps' Planning Modernization effort. The Corps' new planning paradigm and close collaboration with state and federal partner agencies was able to cut that timeline and cost for the feasibility study and associated environmental reviews and permits nearly in half, from more than seven years and $20 million to four years and around $11 million.
The PED Phase will refine and finalize the design of the recommended modifications to the federal channel for Charleston Harbor. Work completed during this phase will include ship simulations, beneficial use analysis, finalizing cost estimates, and development of plans and specifications. Initial federal funding for the PED Phase was received in late July 2015, so work can begin immediately.
The PED phase of Post 45 will take approximately 18-24 months and cost approximately $4.7 million.