During the past nine years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey have been deepening 38 miles of federal navigation channels in the New York Harbor to a depth of 50 feet.
Recently, the New York District awarded the final major construction contract, which will complete the deepening of the Arthur Kill Channel to 50 feet leading to the New York Container Terminal, Staten Island, New York, marking another milestone towards completing the overall 50 foot project.
The deepening provides a safe and economically efficient pathway for the newest generation of container ships calling on the Port of New York and New Jersey. The overall Harbor Deepening Project involves deepening the channels from the Ambrose Channel entrance to the Upper Bay and Newark Bay, providing access the Global Marine Terminal, New York Container Terminal, Port Newark, and Elizabeth Marine Terminal.
The $1.6 billion project, cost shared by The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, initiated prior to the announced improvements to the Panama Canal, is expected to maintain the Port of New York and New Jersey’s position as a premiere port on the East Coast. The overall project consists of 17 contracts to deepen the navigation channels.
The Port is currently the largest container port on the East Coast, and through its major container terminals, waterborne cargo moves to all parts of the United States and throughout the world providing over 269,900 direct and indirect jobs, and $11.2 billion in personal income in port related activities to the states of New York and New Jersey.
All facets of the Harbor Deepening Project are being accomplished with safety as a first priority as contractors dredged the channels in a manner that protected the health and the environment. During the nine year project, several areas contained solid bedrock which necessitated precision controlled, safe and staggered detonations underwater to fracture the rock for removal.
In addition to the economic benefits that the channels will provide, the project also provides environmental benefits as well.
Recognizing a need to offset the air emissions of tugboats and dredging equipment involved in the channel-deepening, a measure was also undertaken with the New York City Department of Transportation to retrofit the Staten Island ferry fleet with new exhaust emission reduction devices to reduce air impacts associated with the project, while The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey led an effort to retrofit tug boats that operate in the region. Tugboat engine replacement was part of the air conformity requirements for the 50-foot project that included replacing two engines on each tugboat aimed at reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 50 tons a year generating improvement to the air quality in the region.
The project is also aiding the region in advancing ecosystem restoration.
With millions of cubic yards of dredged material, every cubic yard is being beneficially reused. Artificial fish reefs off the New York and New Jersey shores were constructed using bedrock and glacial till, clays, and other suitable material. Dredged material is also used to help remediate the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS) in the Atlantic Ocean. Dredged material is also used to cap landfills and Brownfield sites.
In Jamaica Bay, New York, dredged material was beneficially used to create new habitat. Approximately 80 acres of marshland at Elders Point East and Elders Point West marsh islands were restored, and 44 acres of salt marsh was restored at Yellow Bar Hassock with the placement of 375,000 cubic yards of sand. Approximately 625,000 cubic yards of sand was beneficially used to restore marsh islands at Yellow Bar, Rulers Bar and Black Wall from the Harbor Deepening Project including salt marsh restoration at the Woodbridge, New Jersey restoration site.
"The Army Corps is proud of its partnership with The Port Authority and joint commitment for a timely completion of navigation improvements within the Harbor," said Tom Shea, a Project Manager with the New York District. "The Arthur Kill Channel approaching the New York Container Terminal is now underway with work scheduled to be completed by 2014."
The deepening of the Arthur Kill Channel is expected to be completed in 2014 and will be the final milestone achieved in the overall Harbor Deepening Project.