Port gets $3M more for dredging
The Port of Morgan City is set to receive another $3 million for dredging through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, bringing the port’s total dredging funds announced in the past year to roughly $45 million.
In a Monday email, Port Economic Development Manager Cindy Cutrera stated that the Corps of Engineers’ fiscal year 2019 work plan will include an additional $3.025 million allocation for dredging of the Atchafalaya River and Bayous Boeuf, Black and Chene.
An accumulation of sand in the river and fluid mud, known as fluff, in the bar channel has prevented many commercial vessels in recent years from being able to navigate through the area’s waterways.
During the past year, the port has received or learned it will receive a total of about $45 million for dredging of its waterways over the next couple of years.
This level of funding, along with a recently signed contract between Brice Civil Constructors Inc. and the New Orleans District Corps of Engineers to maintain the Bar Channel with specialty-built equipment, is expected to provide a 20-foot deep by 400-feet wide channel for the next two to three years, Cutrera said.
Funds will be used to dredge the Atchafalaya River Bar Channel, Bayou Chene and the river itself south of Morgan City, Cutrera said.
The area waterways haven’t been at a consistent 20-foot depth since 2014, and import-export ships haven’t visited the port since 2015 due to lack of water depth.
Dredging in the river should begin in January, followed by Bayou Chene in March and the bar channel sometime in the spring, she said.
Officials expect the waterways should be dredged to adequate dimensions by summer 2019.
“It’s going to hopefully help industry be able to bid on additional contracts that they haven’t been able to bid on,” Cutrera said. “Our hope is to bring in those ships again and increase tonnage, so we can continue to justify the funding.”
The Corps’ fiscal year began Oct. 1. The additional $3 million funds will be added to the already allocated 2019 fiscal year funds of $12.675 million for a total of $15.7 million.
These funds will provide industry in the Amelia area with properly dredged channel all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, Cutrera said.
In addition to the $15.7 million, the port learned earlier this year that the project was awarded $20 million in supplemental funding for Hurricane Harvey damages to the channel as well as an additional $9 million to the fiscal year 2018 work plan.
Port leaders thanked the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy and the rest of the Louisiana delegation for their support.