Jun 17 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today praised the announcement that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Mobile District and the Alabama State Port Authority have officially entered into a Project Partnership Agreement to deepen and widen the Mobile Harbor Ship Channel by late 2024 or early 2025. The agreement was signed today by Colonel Sebastien P. Joly, Commander of the Mobile District, and John C. Driscoll, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Alabama State Port Authority.
“Today’s signing of the Mobile Harbor Project agreement is yet another milestone in the process of the deepening and widening the Port of Mobile,” said Senator Shelby. “The completion of this historic project will transform Alabama, expanding economic opportunities throughout our state and the region. Further, the modernization of Alabama’s primary port will increase the United States’ competitiveness in the global market. I am extremely grateful for the support of the Army Corps of Engineers and the work of the Alabama State Port Authority to ensure that this project, which I have spent years championing, crosses the finish line with ease.”
The Mobile District of the Corps anticipates the initial construction phase of the Mobile Harbor project to be awarded in the fall of 2020. The completed project will consist of deepening the existing Bar, Bay, and River Channels to a depth of 50 feet, incorporating minor bend easing at the double bends in the Bar Channel, widening the Bay Channel from 400 feet to 500 feet from the mouth of Mobile Bay northward for three nautical miles to provide a two-way traffic area for passing, and expanding the Choctaw Pass Turning Basin by 250 feet to the south at a depth of 50 feet. The Mobile Harbor project is anticipated to occur over six construction phases, with a targeted project completion by late 2024 or early 2025, and a total estimated cost of $365 million.
In February, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allocated $274,300,000 for the Port of Mobile in its Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) Work Plan, officially providing the resources to dredge Alabama’s premier port. The funding – which accounts for the full federal share of the project cost – initiated the complete construction of the deepening and widening of the navigation channel. Following the required preliminary steps, construction is expected to begin this fall.
The FY2020 Energy and Water Development Appropriations measure, signed into law December 2019, included funding for a new regional dredge demonstration program for the Central Gulf Coast – designed to explore innovative ways of executing dredging in a logical and sequenced manner to seek efficiencies, cost savings, and minimize disruptions to critical construction and maintenance dredging requirements across the nation.
The Port of Mobile is one of the nation’s fastest growing container seaports and has an economic impact of $25.4 billion. The harbor channel construction project, which will allow for more goods to be shipped and sold through Mobile, is financed by a split of 75 percent federal funds and 25 percent state-sponsored funds. Through federal legislation, Senator Shelby increased the federal government’s share of funding for deep draft ports from 50 percent to 75 percent.