Maintenance dredging of Puerto Nuevo River begins in Puerto Rico

Published Jan. 31, 2011

ARRA-funded project to provide 100-year flood protection                                     

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2011) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District’s maintenance dredging of the Puerto Nuevo River began in Puerto Rico Monday, Jan. 24, 2011.


Rapid upstream runoff, inadequate channel capacity, constriction at bridges and elimination of the flood plain by urbanization threaten to cause severe flooding for 7,500 residents and 700 commercial and public structures valued at over $3 billion. An October 2010 groundbreaking ceremony officially marked the start of the $520.3 million Margarita Channel portion of the Rio Puerto Nuevo flood risk reduction project, partially funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. With the infusion of $56 million in ARRA funds, the Corps was able to complete the plans and specifications for the lower Margarita Channel and award a construction contract to Dragados USA, Inc. of New York, N.Y. Work began in August 2010.


The plan of improvement protects against severe flooding by construction in the Margarita Creek and the Puerto Nuevo River and its tributaries, including 1.7 miles of earth-lined channel, 9.5 miles of concrete-lined channel, 5.1 miles of which are high velocity, and two debris basins. The plan will also require the construction of five new bridges, the replacement of 17 bridges and the modification of eight existing bridges. Work is expected to be completed by July 2013.


A contractor-produced video of one of the scows passing under the Kennedy Avenue Bridge has been posted to Jacksonville District’s Facebook page at To enable the scow to pass under the bridge, where the clearance is relatively low, it is filled with water. After passing the bridge, the water is emptied. On its way back, the scow is filled with excavated soil dredged from the channel.


Nancy J. Sticht

Release no. 11-08