The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday that it awarded a $210 million contract to Illinois-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company for the second phase of the St. Johns River deepening project.
This is the second contract for deepening the St. Johns River in a project that aims to increase the depth from 40 feet to 47 feet for up to 13 miles in phases. This second phase focuses on miles three through eight. The first phase is deepening the first three miles of the river. A third phase of the project will deepen to mile 11, where the Blount Island Marine Terminal is located.
A Congressionally authorized fourth phase would deepen to Dames Point Marine Terminal at 13 miles, but Jaxport has prioritized funding only the first three phases.
“This award represents another key milestone to improve harbor infrastructure that is vital to our economy,” Col. Drew Kelly, commander of the Corps’ Jacksonville District, said in a statement.
The deepening project is meant to allow larger vessels to call on the Port of Jacksonville, given that shipping companies are opting for larger and larger vessels every year.
“A deeper and wider navigation channel will allow vessels to move cargo more efficiently and cost effectively,” Project Manager Jason Harrah said in a statement.
Great Lakes Dredge will be responsible for moving 5.7 million cubic yards of material from the river. No blasting is required in this phase, though blasting may be required to remove rock in the next phase. Dredged material is transported to a disposal site six miles southeast of the entrance channel into the St. Johns River.
Construction on phase two is expected to begin in December and last about five years