The Port of Virginia has received federal authorization to commence its “Wider, Deeper, Safer” project, to deepen and widen the Norfolk Harbour’s commercial shipping channels.
The initiative has been included in the President of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which will allow Virginia to become the deepest and safest port on the U.S East Coast.
According to a statement by the port, dredge work will take the inner harbour’s commercial channels to 55 feet deep, and the channel in the Chesapeake Bay to 56 feet deep.
In addition to this, the channel will be widened to as much as 1,400 feet, allowing for the two-way traffic of ultra-large container ships.
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John F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority, commented: “Virginia’s inclusion in this legislation will ultimately provide us the means to better serve our ocean carrier customers by allowing them to sail the biggest ships in their fleets to Virginia.
“When Wider, Deeper, Safer is coupled with the $700 million investment we are making to expand capacity at our main container terminals, cargo owners throughout the Mid-Atlantic and the nation’s Heartland benefit because the speed of exports and imports flowing through Virginia will increase.”
Engineering and design work on the project has already begun, with construction scheduled to begin in January 2020.
The Water Infrastructure Act provides for improvements to the nation’s rivers and harbours, as well as supporting conservation and pollution control activities for US waterways.