Army Corps of Engineers releases harbor deepening study

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a report Tuesday on a proposal to deepen the Savannah Harbor from 42 feet to a maximum depth of 48 feet.

There will be a public commenting period from Nov. 26 to Jan. 10, 2011 on the proposals.

Savannah Harbor is the fastest growing and fourth largest port by container volume in the nation and second largest on the East Coast, according to Port Import Export Reporting Service compiled by the Journal of Commerce. The harbor was last deepened from 38 to 42 feet in 1994. Since then, the container traffic along the route has significantly increased.

The study concluded that the environmental effects of deepening the 35.6-mile shipping channel to 47 or 48 feet can be brought to an acceptable level.

As indicated in the draft GRR and EIS, the harbor deepening will provide more than $100 million annually in net benefits to the nation.

The study, authorized by Congress, reflects an extensive analysis of the engineering alternatives, environmental impacts, and economic costs and benefits of deepening the Savannah Harbor and shipping channel, according to a news release. The study is funded by the federal government and the state of Georgia.

The project's estimated initial costs for the 48-foot alternative, for example, is $551 million with 70 percent supported by the federal government and the remaining 30 percent provided by the state of Georgia.

The Savannah District plans to hold a public workshop from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 15 at the

Savannah Civic Center at 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave., where the public can ask questions and provide comments on the project.

Read and comment on the GRR and EIS online at

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.