Newly signed agreement marks start of Charleston Harbor deepening project

July 19, 2017

July 19, 2017

John McDermott

The Post and Courier

A newly signed agreement between the Army Corps of Engineers and the State Ports Authority kicks off the construction phase of the $529 million Charleston Harbor deepening project, it was announced Wednesday.

The legally binding document finalizes the responsibilities for both agencies in terms of funding and work tasks. Known as a project partnership agreement, it is required for the construction of water resource projects involving the U.S. government and “a non-federal sponsor” such as the SPA.

“We’re excited to begin the construction phase of the Post 45 project,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Palazzini, who took over as the Army Corps’ Charleston District commander this month. “The signing … allows us to stay on track with our budget and timeline for eventually deepening the federal channel of Charleston Harbor to 52 feet.”

The estimated costs for the construction phase is $330 million for the federal government and $199 million for the state.

The newly finalized agreement allows the Army Corps to: receive money that South Carolina has already set aside for the dredging work; start spending the $17.5 million in federal funds allocated for the project for the 2017 fiscal year; solicit bids; and award contracts.

“We’ve advertised the first and second contracts for the dredging of the entrance channel, which is where construction will begin,” said Holly Carpenter, project manager. “We are planning to award both contracts sometime this fall, depending on funding and acceptable bids from industry.”

The construction of the entire project will take 40 to 76 months.

The harbor deepening is critical to Port of Charleston’s ability to attract the larger, heavier cargo ships that have become more common in the global maritime industry.