USACE Awards Record $213 Million Contract to Dredge Charleston Harbor Entrance Channel

cosco development
The Neopanamax ship COSCO Development, the biggest ship to ever visit the U.S. east coast at the time, arrives in Charleston Harbor on Saturday, May 13, 2017. Photo: South Carolina Ports

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $213 million contract to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company as part of the project to deepen the entrance channel to Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. 

The contract represents the largest dredging contract ever awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The $213.3 million contract award calls for the removal of approximately 8 million cubic yards of material from the Charleston harbor entrance channel. It is the second contract awarded as part of the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project, which involves dredging the harbor from its current depth of 45 feet to a new depth of 54 feet throughout the more than 20-mile-long entrance channel. Dredged material will primarily be placed in an offshore disposal site that will be used to create artificial reefs.

Great Lakes said it expects the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award additional options on the contract within 120 days, which could consist of the additional excavation of 5.5 million cubic yards of soil. The added value of the options could amount $65.1, resulting in a total contract value of $278.4 million and totaling 13.5 million cubic yards dredged material.

Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

According to USACE, the dredging contract is the final contract that will be required to complete the deepening of the Entrance Channel and is part of the overall $529 million project cost.

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company was also awarded the first contract related to Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project on September 7, 2017. The initial $47 million contract initiate construction work in the Entrance Channel.

“The Charleston 2 deepening project is an important win for the Company representing the largest dredging contract ever awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer,” said David Simonelli, President of Great Lakes’ Dredging Division. “Combined with the $47.2 million Charleston 1 deepening project Great Lakes won in August, our hopper and cutter dredges will excavate over 20 million cubic yards of material to deepen the 18 mile Charleston Entrance Channel. We are pleased to see the U.S. Corps of Engineers, State of South Carolina and South Carolina Port Authority moving this crucial work forward on an expedited basis to create neo-Panamax vessel access to Charleston.”

The overall project is expected to take anywhere from 40 to 76 months, depending on several factors including funding.

“The award of the second contract for the Entrance Channel keeps us in line with our schedule, which will be the most time-consuming phase of the project,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Palazzini, USACE district commander. “The Charleston District team has been working diligently on ensuring we keep the project schedule on track so that the entire project remains on time and on budget.”