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$380M Ship Channel Project Begins in TX

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

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Work has commenced on a $380 million project to widen Texas' Port of Corpus Christi’s ship channel, according to reports. The groundbreaking ceremony, attended by members of government and port officials alike, occurred Wednesday (May 29).

According to the Corpus Christi Caller Times, it has been nearly three decades since Congress’ first approval regarding deepening the channel.

Project Background

Port CEO Sean Strawbridge noted at the groundbreaking that since Congress had lifted a ban on crude oil exports, originally put into place in 1975 by former President Gerald Ford, the port had seen a boom in growth. The ban was removed in 2015.

The channel, which is currently 45 feet deep, will be dredged to 54 feet deep. The move is meant to accommodate larger vessels with increased cargo capacity. The port assists with the import and export of crude oil, liquified natural gas and other materials. Work to make the port more accessible is also aligning with construction on the Harbor Bridge. According to the Caller Times, the original Harbor Bridge needed to be replaced due to having outlived its design.

The new bridge, to be constructed of concrete, will have a main span length of 1,661 feet, surpassing Louisiana’s John James Audubon Bridge as the longest cable-stayed bridge in the country. The joint venture Flatiron/Dragados LLC was chosen in 2015 by the Texas Department of Transportation for the design-build contract for the project. The venture announced earlier this year that construction on the bridge would unlikely meet the April 2020 completion deadline.

Moving Forward

According to the Caller Times, officials hope that dredging work will be finished by the time the new bridge is completed, and the old Harbor Bridge is demolished in 2022. The port has pledged $100 million of its own funding, with the rest slated to come from the federal government over the next handful of years.

Once work is completed, the channel will be able to accommodate two-way supertanker traffic. The $92 million contract for the first phase of work was awarded to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock in December.

"This moment has been 20 years in the making, and our team at the Port of Corpus Christi is not only excited, but we are humbled and deeply honored to play a role in the American energy renaissance," said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Corpus Christi.

"We are building and enhancing infrastructure and collaborating with new partners as we prepare to accommodate major growth in crude oil production."


Tagged categories: Construction; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Ships and vessels

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