The Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement Project is eligible for congressional authorization following U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite signing the Chief of Engineers Report June 7.
The project proposal includes deepening the East and West Waterways to 57 feet below mean lower low water and if it receives authorization and funding for construction will improve navigation in Seattle Harbor’s East and West Waterways. The deeper waterways will accommodate today’s larger container ship fleet draft requirements.
“Both waterways are currently authorized between 34 and 51 feet below mean lower low water and some of these shallower spots present navigational and safety challenges,” said Corps Project Manager Brian Nelson. “Authorizing deepening the channels removes these challenges and ensures the Port can accommodate future generations of container ships.”
“This project will make the Port of Seattle the deepest container port in the nation at 57 feet deep,” said Port of Seattle Commission President and NWSA Managing Member Courtney Gregoire. “This is another step forward to making T-5 big ship ready, and able to handle the largest cargo vessels in the world. The Port of Seattle and The Northwest Seaport Alliance thank the Army Corps of Engineers for their timely completion of this study and recognition of the value the project will contribute to our nation.”
The Port of Seattle is the non-federal project sponsor that worked with the Corps to complete the feasibility study which began in 2014. The study evaluated several deepening alternatives.
Following authorization, the Corps and Port of Seattle will engage in a detailed design phase prior to project construction.
The Final Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment as well as the Chief’s Report can be viewed on the project website.
Also, the Corps delivered to Congress its Fiscal year 2018 work plan today that included funding to initiate a feasibility study for a deepening project at the Port of Tacoma. Similar to the Seattle Harbor project, the Tacoma Harbor Navigation Improvement General Investigation Study includes two waterways, the Blair and Sitcum. The study will analyze alternatives associated for canal deepening. The Port of Tacoma is the non-Federal sponsor.
Together, if authorized and funded, these projects will support the Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Tacoma and Seattle. The first of its kind in North America, the Seaport Alliance is the fourth-largest container gateway in the United States.