The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District's Bank Grading Unit (BGU), is the second field activity of Revetment Operations following the Clearing and Snagging Unit. It grades the banks of the Mississippi River to the proposed design slopes to support the sinking of Articulated Concrete Mattress (ACM) by the Mat Sinking Unit.
It is an integral part of the revetment process that could not be completed without the expert crew that operates the unit.
“A lot of work is accomplished with the use of a barge mounted dragline and bulldozers,” Civil Engineer Jake Storz said. “Right now, the current machine used to do much of this work is over 70 years old and ready to retire. That’s why the Mississippi Valley Division is well on its way to getting a new Bank Grading Unit to replace the current one.”
Members of the Corps and various contractors met in mid-January for a preconstruction meeting in Morgan City, Louisiana to ensure everyone involved continued on the right path during the planning and design phase.
“The first phase of the project was to procure a dragline machine to be mounted atop a barge and have the ability to continue bank preparation to support the requirements of the Mat Sinking Unit,” Storz continued. “The second phase allowed us to obtain a barge for mounting the dragline machine using the machine’s specifications from our dragline contractor, Seatrax, Inc.”
The machine contract was awarded to Seatrax Inc., on July 10, 2019 in the amount of $15,098,156. The barge contract was then awarded September 26, 2019 to Conrad Shipyard, LLC in the amount of $6,757,660 for a total investment of $21,855,816.
Complete BGU acquisition is tentatively set for February of 2022.
“The machine is designed to exceed the production rate of the current Bank Grading Unit, which of course will greatly benefit revetment operations overall,” Storz added.
Channel maintenance and river stabilization like revetment operations insures hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce flow freely up and down the Mississippi River system.