Dig­ging be­gins on $706 mil­lion deep­en­ing of Sa­van­nah har­bor

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - From AP Re­ports

TY­BEE IS­LAND, Ga. (AP) — Crews work­ing round-the-clock have be­gun deep­en­ing the wa­ter­way cargo ships use to reach the busy Port of Sa­van­nah, which spent 16 years wait­ing for stud­ies and fund­ing be­fore dredg­ing could start.

The Army Corps of Engi­neers, the fed­eral agency over­see­ing the $706 mil­lion Sa­van­nah har­bor ex­pan­sion, called a news con­fer­ence Mon­day to celebrate the pro­ject’s start on Ty­bee Is­land as crews on a 220-foot dredg­ing barge worked about 5 miles off­shore.

Work­ers for con­trac­tor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Com­pany ac­tu­ally got started last Thurs­day. The Illi­nois­based com­pany is be­ing paid $ 134.5 mil­lion to deepen 17 miles of the ship­ping chan­nel — about half the to­tal route be­tween the Sa­van­nah port and the At­lantic Ocean.

“It’s a lot like a high­way con­struc­tion job,” said Ar­mand Riehl, pro­ject man­ager for Great Lakes. “It’s just hap­pen­ing un­der­wa­ter.”

The dredg­ing barge uses a ro­tat­ing cut­ting tool that’s like a drill bit 8 feet in di­am­e­ter to break up sand and sed­i­ment from the bot­tom of the wa­ter­way. The loose muck gets sucked through a gi­ant hose and sprayed into what are es­sen­tially float­ing dump trucks that get pulled by tug­boats to dis­pose of the spoils at a des­ig­nated spot in the ocean.

It’s not fast work. Even with two crews work- ing 12-hour shifts, the dredg­ing barge moves for­ward each day only about the length of a football field, Riehl said. Dur­ing that time it re­moves enough sand to fill roughly 1,400 dump trucks.

Ac­cord­ing to its con­tract with the Army Corps, the con­trac­tor has un­til July 18, 2018, to fin­ish deep­en­ing the outer har­bor — which be­gins off the north end of Ty­bee Is­land and runs sev­eral miles out to sea.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.