Jacksonville, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District announces the Tampa Harbor and St. Petersburg Harbor maintenance dredging contract award of $4,662,432 to Orion Marine Construction of Tampa, Fla.
The upcoming work is partially in response to impacts from Hurricane Matthews’s passage in 2016, and is federally funded with Hurricane Matthew Supplemental Operations and Maintenance funds. The Corps awarded the contract Aug. 31.
The project consists of dredging shoal material from several channels to return them to their authorized depths. It includes Tampa Harbor maintenance dredging to 34 and 43 feet; Hillsborough Bay, Ybor Channel, Upper and Lower Sparkman, Port Sutton and East Bay; and St. Petersburg Harbor maintenance dredging to 24-feet in the entrance channel and turning basin. All channels are within Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
“Managing sediment on a regional scale results in significant cost savings and environmental benefits, so we combined several authorized projects,” Project Manager Brandon Burch said. Just mobilization of a dredger and other required equipment can cost upwards of $1 million per project.
St. Petersburg Harbor was last dredged in 2001, so this is an excellent opportunity and at a cost savings, Burch said.
The U.S. Coast Guard Section St. Petersburg assisted in the St. Petersburg Harbor project receiving funds. Helping ensure the Coast Guard can perform its mission is critical to national security.
The accumulation of sediment, commonly called shoaling, restricts navigation by reducing both channel width and depth. Minimum depths recorded from the channels are less than the authorized depths and are causing navigation restrictions for commercial vessels. Periodic dredging is required to maintain the channels at their federally authorized depths for navigation purposes.
The maintenance will remove roughly 200,000 cubic yards of material in total. Orion Marine Construction will place all material in a permitted disposal area located in Tampa Bay. Contract work also includes turbidity monitoring, endangered species monitoring, and more.
The Corps anticipates construction will start in October and finish within 180 days. The dredge will operate 24 hours daily unless there are unforeseen delays such as weather or mechanical problems. The Corps asks boaters to use extra caution while traveling in the channels during dredging operations.
Jacksonville District has relocated millions of cubic yards of sand from Florida ports, inlets and waterways as part of its navigation program. This work provides significant aid to navigation and, when suitable, it also benefits local beaches with sand nourishment, providing important storm damage protection and restoring beach wildlife habitat.