The U.S. Military Corps of Engineers expects to start out dredging the St. Johns River in December after awarding a $22.eight million contract for the primary part of the harbor deepening challenge.
The award to The Dutra Group of San Rafael, Calif., “is a key milestone for an essential venture that improves port infrastructure so very important to our financial system,” stated Col. Jason Kirk, commander of the Corps’ Jacksonville district.
The Corps says deepening the ship channel will allow ships to name on Jacksonville’s port with extra cargo on board, fairly than diverting cargo to different ports which might be much less value efficient than Jacksonville for shifting these items.
The opening part will take two years to deepen the river from the ocean to only west of the St. Johns River Ferry touchdown in Mayport. The dredging for this part won’t require blasting of the river backside. Materials faraway from the river shall be disposed in an off-shore website about six miles southeast of the doorway channel jetties, the Corps says.
The dredging will transfer ahead whereas a lawsuit filed by the St. Johns Riverkeeper group is pending in federal courtroom. The Riverkeeper lawsuit seeks to cease the dredging, contending the Corps’ environmental impression assertion fails to completely account for hurt to the river and falls in need of proving financial justification for deepening the forty-foot channel to forty seven ft.
The Corps says deepening thirteen miles of the river will value $704.5 million, with the federal authorities’s share at $337.eight million and the non-federal share at $366.7 million.
The Jacksonville Port Authority needs to scale back the size of the dredging to eleven miles, which JaxPort says would make the price $484 million. JaxPort has been in talks with TraPac, which operates a terminal for giant cargo ships west of the Dames Level Bridge, about relocating to the opposite aspect of the bridge so an eleven-mile dredge would nonetheless serve TraPac.