Work underway to widen, deepen Houston Ship Channel

“Project 11” is a billion greenback plan that may assist Port Houston, the busiest by tonnage within the nation, higher accommodate larger ships.

HOUSTON, Texas — The busiest waterway within the nation by tonnage is true in our personal yard.

“We’re 50 million tons larger than quantity two,” mentioned Port Houston Chief Infrastructure Officer Rich Byrnes.

Accommodating larger and greater ships is a part of the explanation Port Houston pushed “Project 11.”

“We name it Project 11 as a result of it’s the eleventh main enlargement of the ship channel in its 150-year historical past,” mentioned Byrnes.

The multi-year, multi-segment project contains widening elements of the channel to 700 toes and deepening others to 46 1/2 toes.

Primary aims embrace bettering draft for bigger vessels and giving them extra room to maneuver, which lessens the necessity to play what ship pilots name “Texas Chicken.”

But, tons of fabric have to be eliminated first.

“I do know rather a lot about dredging,” mentioned Port Houston Project Manager Leia Wilson.

She was amongst these exhibiting us dredging work that features the most important clam-shell dredger within the U.S. which can also be hybrid electrical to assist with emissions.

“So they’re doing roughly 10,000 cubic yards a day here,” mentioned Wilson. “Once they get within the channel, they’ll be upwards of 20-22,000 cubic yards a day.”

Meanwhile, an enormous drill bit-looking gadget on one other dredge loosens exhausting clay and soils below water.

“It’s about 10 toes vast and this one weighs about 17 tons or so,” mentioned Nicholas Williams with contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company.

The muck is then pumped by way of a tube and dumped both on man-made islands out within the Gulf or is used to assist with seashore restoration.

It’s all a part of an effort to hold a multi-billion greenback financial engine comfortably afloat for years to come.

“No channel, no ships, no port,” mentioned Byrnes.

You can discover out extra about Project 111 on the Houston Ship Channel’s website.

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