Construction kicked off Friday on a $365.7 million project to deepen and widen channels that serve the Alabama State Port Authority facilities at Mobile.
The Bar, Bay and River Channels will be deepened by 5 feet each, to a depth of 50 feet.
Three nautical miles along the Bay Channel will be widened by 100 feet to accommodate two-way vessel traffic.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has executed the contracts for the project, which should be complete by 2025.
“We’re extremely excited to see material moving on this crucial project,” said John Driscoll, director and chief executive officer for the Alabama State Port Authority. “This project, along with the collaborative support of our federal and state partners, will provide our customers and our carriers the necessary infrastructure to ensure their market competitiveness.”
The first phase, which began Friday, is a $53.9 million dredging project along 12 miles from Dauphin Island toward the intersection of the Channel and the Theodore Industrial Canal. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co., the nation’s largest provider of dredging services, will use hopper and mechanical (bucket) dredges. This phase is expected to last 18 months. The same firm has the contract for the next phase, as well.
The Mobile Harbor modernization project was awarded federal funding in February 2020. In 2019, the state allocated a portion of state fuel tax proceeds to support $150 million in bonds to meet federal cost-sharing requirements.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) lauded the start of the project. “I am pleased that we have finally begun construction to deepen and widen the Port of Mobile, something I am confident will drastically improve our state and local economy for generations to come. This is great news. The Mobile port modernization project has been one of my highest priorities for a number of years. I look forward to its completion and the resulting benefits.”