Trying to speed up a study needed before the deepening of the Charleston Harbor can begin, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) met last week with local harbor pilots to determine part of the study’s focus.
The harbor pilots were brought in because they know the river channels as well as anyone else, according to ACE’s Charleston District commander Col. Edward Chamberlayne.
“Instead of going through a list of hundreds of alternatives to consider, which would make our feasibility study longer, they would really narrow it down to the most productive and most feasible alternatives,” he said. “It would make the most bang for our buck.”
The Corps has partnered with the State Ports Authority to help pay the estimated $20 million the feasibility study will cost. Port officials say the channel needs to be deepened to 50 feet in order to handle the new, larger ships that will begin arriving along the East Coast once the Panama Canal expansion is complete in 2014. The overall project is expected to cost around $300 million.