Dredging operations to bring the Norfolk Harbour at the Port of Virginia to the target depth of 55-feet have been authorized by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers.
The Port of Virginia’s Wider, Deeper, Safer project, which aims to deepen and widen the commercial shipping channels serving the Norfolk Harbour, received the approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers on July 2nd, 2018 — the last of the federal reviews needed for the project to commence.
The report from the US Army Corps of Engineers allows the project to be included in the federal Water Resources Development ACT (WRDA) bill, which makes it eligible for federal funding.
When the project is completed, the new wider and deeper channels will allow for two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels to and from the harbour.
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CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, John F. Reinhart, commented: “The positive outcome of the Chief’s Report and this whole process could not have been achieved without our partners at the Army Corps’ Norfolk District office and the support this project has received from our governor, the Virginia General Assembly, Virginia’s Congressional delegation and the Virginia Maritime Association.
“It has been a three-year collaborative effort and the result will drive growth at the port and economic development and job creation throughout Virginia for decades to come.
“Wider, Deeper, Safer also holds benefits for taxpayers in those Heartland markets served by The Port of Virginia – Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois – as they’ll be able to move goods, both exports and imports, more efficiently and economically than ever.”
The Wider, Deeper, Safer project will be undertaken in two phases — the preliminary design and engineering phase expected to take 18-24 months and cost $20 million, and the dredging phase which is expected to complete in 2024 and cost $330 million.
Both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives agreed to invest $350 million in the deepening project.