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Corps of Engineers finishes raised dike for dredge spoils

  • The raising of the Confederate ironclad CSS Georgia, part of SHEP mitigation efforts, will be the subject of a program Wednesday night at 6:30 at the Coastal Georgia Center, 305 Fahm St. The program is free and open to the public. (Photo courtesy USACE)
  • The Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, completed a $6.5 million dike preparation to contain the material to be dredged from the river bottom as the harbor and shipping channel goes from a 42-foot authorized depth to a 47-foot authorized depth. The disposal area, on the South Carolina shores of the Savannah River used material previously taken from the river to build the dikes. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Although the physical evidence is often subtle, progress on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project — or SHEP — continues at a steady pace, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has primary responsibility for the nearly $1 billion effort to deepen the Savannah River channel.

This week the Corps announced it has completed an important navigation feature, the $6.5 million raising of a dike on the South Carolina side of the river to hold the material that will be dredged from the inner harbor floor.

The removal of this material will result in a new channel depth of 47 feet below mean sea level, or 5 feet deeper than its current depth.

The project will allow newer, larger cargo vessels to enter and leave the harbor more easily and with heavier loads than currently allowed.

The dike-raising, a 400-day effort, used approximately 500,000 cubic yards of fill material to increase the height of the containment walls, adding substantial capacity to the containment area known as 14A.

With the completion of the raised dike, the groundwork is prepared for beginning SHEP’s most significant feature — inner harbor dredging.

Based on the current schedule, inner harbor dredging could begin in the latter half of 2018, according to Corps spokesman Russell Wicke, who said that schedule is contingent upon the completion and testing of the Dissolved Oxygen Injection System.

The system, designed to offset the decrease in river oxygen levels a deeper river will bring, is currently 45-percent complete and should be finished by the end of the year, he said.

“We are highly confident the DO system will operate in the way our model predictions indicated,” he added.

Mackie McIntosh, chief of Civil Works in the Corps’ Savannah District, said the sooner SHEP is completed, the quicker the nation will realize its full economic benefits — an estimated net value of $282 million every year.

“The completion of our first navigation feature is an indicator that this project is on its way to yielding a large return on investment, not only for Savannah and the southeast but also for the nation,” she said.

The district has also recently completed two environmental mitigation features of the SHEP:

The acquisition and transfer of 2,256 acres of wetlands to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier in July, and

A payment of $2.9 million in March 2015 for additional striped bass stocking in the river.

CSS Georgia program Wednesday

Two renowned underwater archaeologists will present information on the latest efforts to recover the CSS Georgia, a Confederate ironclad scuttled in the Savannah River near the end of the Civil War, in a free program set for Wednesday in the auditorium of the Coastal Georgia Center.

Stephen James and Gordon Watts will present up-to-date details on the recovery of the vessel and will highlight the numerous and amazing artifacts discovered. Recovery efforts end in August, clearing another hurdle in the deepening of the harbor.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a light reception. The presentation, along with a question and answer period, will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Those attending will be able to preview portions of the soon-to-be released documentary on the CSS Georgia project by filmmaker Michael Jordan.

Senior business reporter Mary Carr Mayle covers the ports for the Savannah Morning News and savannahnow. She can be reached at 912-652-0324 or at mary.mayle@savannahnow.com.

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Following are the ships expected to call on Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City and Ocean terminals this week. Schedules are supplied by GPA and are subject to change.

TERMINAL VESSEL ETA

GCT CHARLESTON EXPRESS Today

GCT ALEXANDRA Today

GCT MSC CARMEN Today

GCT MAERSK ATLANTA Today

GCT MAERSK WOLFSBURG Today

GCT MOL EXPERIENCE Today

GCT EBONY RAY Today

GCT EVER LAUREL Today

GCT COSCO DEVELOPMENT Today

OT TYSLA Today

GCT CMA CGM LA TRAVIATA Saturday

GCT MAERSK KOTKA Saturday

GCT CMA CGM LA SCALA Saturday

OT MOMI ARROW Saturday

GCT WIDUKIND Sunday

GCT UASC ZAMZAM Sunday

GCT NYK METEOR Sunday

GCT NINGBO EXPRESS Sunday

GCT MSC MARIA ELENA Sunday

GCT CMA CGM MAUPASSANT Sunday

GCT ALBERT MAERSK Sunday

GCT MOL MATRIX Sunday

OT AN DING HAI Sunday

GCT OCTAVIA Monday

GCT WASHINGTON EXPRESS Monday

GCT SPIRIT OF TOKYO Monday

GCT NORTHERN MONUMENT Monday

GCT MAERSK GIRONDE Monday

GCT BILBAO BRIDGE Monday

OT PARSIFAL Monday

OT GRANDE CONGO Monday

GCT ZIM TEXAS Tuesday

GCT MAERSK SEMARANG Tuesday

GCT OSAKA EXPRESS Tuesday

GCT MAERSK KOWLOON Tuesday

GCT MSC MELISSA Tuesday

OT HOEGH DETROIT Tuesday

GCT YM UBIQUITY Wednesday

GCT JAN Wednesday

GCT ZIM DJIBOUTI Wednesday

GCT CMA CGM GEORGIA Wednesday

GCT ASTRID SCHULTE Wednesday

GCT BROTONNE BRIDGE Thursday

GCT MSC KLEVEN Thursday

GCT NYK REMUS Thursday

GCT MALLECO Thursday

GCT EVER LUCID Thursday

GCT NYK RUMINA Thursday

GCT OOCL KOREA Thursday

GCT MOEN ISLAND Thursday

GCT HS ROME Thursday

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