Port, Army Corps Launch Harbor Deepening Project

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main-channel-deepening-project Port of Long BeachA $40 million project deepening the Port of Long Beach Main Channel to allow safer transit for the largest ships including oil tankers was officially kicked off today, Tuesday, June 8, by the Port and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Port of Long Beach Main Channel Deepening Project is a critical and significant step forward for maritime safety, navigation and modernization at the Port. The Army Corps is overseeing the project with support from Port engineers and the dredging work is being performed by Manson Construction Co. Funding was provided by the Port and the Army Corps, and includes $2.4 million in federal economic stimulus money.
In addition to the Main Channel Deepening, the project involves dredging at the Catalina Express ferry landing in downtown Long Beach and the removal and containment of decades-old contaminated sediments in the harbor.

“The Main Channel Deepening and related projects are a significant step forward for the Port of Long Beach and the harbor as a whole,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. “This is a vital project that is creating jobs and will help keep the Port competitive as the economy rebounds.”

The project will improve navigation, safety and efficiency, particularly for oil tankers. After the project is complete, the largest oil tankers bound for the BP crude oil terminal will be able to turn around in the Port and to approach their berths fully loaded. Now, the largest ships have to be partially unloaded or “lightered” offshore before docking.

The 17-month project, which actually began earlier this year with the Catalina Landing dredging and will continue into 2011, will generate about 180 jobs.

The project is also one that fits in with the Port’s Green Port Policy. Hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of dredged-up sediment is being “recycled” — reused within the Port of Long Beach to create new land area on Pier G. There it will help provide space for an expanded on-dock rail yard to which will reduce truck trips and emissions.

Officials including Col. Thomas H. Magness, District Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District; Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster; and Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners Vice President Mario Cordero formally recognized the deepening project in an event Tuesday at the Port.

The event will be one of Col. Magness’ last official duties in his current post, as he is preparing to take on a new role for the Army Corps. After he relinquishes command of the Los Angeles District on July 1, he’ll assume command of Afghanistan Engineer District – North.

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