Port of Corpus Christi approves project deepening, widening ship channel

By John Starky | DFW Newsflash | October 2017

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, – The Port of Corpus Christi Authority (PCCA) Commission approved Sept. 1 a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the deepening and widening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel (CC Ship Channel). The CC Ship Channel Improvement Project (CIP) will widen the CC Ship Channel to 530 feet plus additional barge shelves to allow for two way vessel and barge traffic in tandem, and deepen the CC Ship Channel to 54 feet MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water) to allow for safe passage of deep draft large vessels.

Upon the execution of the PPA, Port Commissioners also approved the acceleration of $32 million in Port funds to the USACE to expedite initial construction phases of the Project.

“The widening and deepening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel and construction of barge shelves are needed to guarantee continued economic growth for South Texas and Port Corpus Christi and for ensuring the safety of port operations. The Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project is critical to the Texas economy, and the Nation’s movement toward global energy dominance,” said Charles W. Zahn, Chairman of the Port Corpus Christi Commission.

The CC Ship Channel Improvement Project was initially authorized by Congress under the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007. Congress re-authorized the CC Ship Channel Improvement Project in WRDA 2014, and reaffirmed its commitment to the Project under the WIIN 2016 Act (Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act).

“The signing of this Project Partnership for the Port of Corpus Christi Channel Improvement Project is a monumental opportunity for the Port of Corpus Christi and will help generate jobs and the economy in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The Galveston District is proud to undertake this significant project with our non-federal sponsor,” said Colonel Lars N. Zetterstrom, Commander of the Galveston District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The entire Project is estimated to cost an estimated $327 million with the USACE proportionate cost-share projected to be $225 million and the PCCA proportionate cost-share projected at $102 million. The PPA allows the PCCA to accelerate its portion of the Project cost-share, thereby allowing construction to commence ahead of federal appropriations up to $102 million. These funds are intended for use in the design and construction of the deepening of the CC Ship Channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Harbor Island just east of the Port Aransas Ferry Landing.

This PPA is the first one to include several modernized agreement provisions following a comprehensive review and updating of partnership language by the USACE. The PPA was negotiated and approved on an expedited basis through a team effort between PCCA Staff and the USACE Galveston District, USACE Southwest Region Division Staff, and USACE Headquarters.

“We are grateful for the high priority and cooperative approach given to this important agreement by the Corps of Engineers, and we look forward to future funding and construction of the remaining phases of these needed navigation elements of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel,” Port Corpus Christi Executive Director John LaRue said.

SOURCE Port of Corpus Christi Authority