In Late July, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its four-year $7.8 million feasibility study on expanding the Mobile Shipping Channel, formally known as the General Reevaluation Report & Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (GRR/SEIS).
The study examined the costs, benefits and environmental and economic consequences of enlarging the channel. It also evaluated a range of alternative plans that would improve the safety and efficiency of the existing navigation system. Navigation concerns include three main types of problems: larger size vessels experience transit delays due to existing width of the channel; existing channel depths limit vessel cargo capacity; and, existing traffic congestion has increased safety concerns.
The Tentatively Selected Plan estimated the cost of the project at $387.8 million and would include the following navigation improvements:
- Deepening the channel by 5 feet to a depth of 50 feet
- Widening the channel for 3 nautical miles to allow two-way traffic
- Expanding the Choctaw Pass turning basin to accommodate safe turning of larger vessels
- Bend easing in the Bar Channel
The Corps of Engineers has opened the 45-day comment period on the GRR/SEIS ending on September 10, 2018 and will host a town hall meeting set for September 6th from 5:30-8:00 pm at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center.
To read the full GRR/SEIS Report, click here.