Port officials in Houston are announcing the completion of the first segment of the $1 billion Houston Ship Channel expansion project.
The project, officially known as “Project 11”, will widen and deepen the Houston Ship Channel, one of the nation’s busiest waterways, to accommodate bigger ships.
The first segment, known as Segment 1A, constitutes a stretch of 11.5 miles in Galveston Bay from Bolivar Roads, located at the entrance to the Bay, to Redfish. Port Houston said the expansion of the area is expected to help increase safety, reduce congestion, and improve vessel transit times by approximately an hour by reducing daylight restrictions.
“The completion of segment 1A is a great step forward to sustain the busiest waterway in the nation,” said Roger Guenther, Executive Director at Port Houston. “It moves Port Houston one step closer to handling unrestricted two-way traffic of larger vessels for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Credit: Port Houston
The 52-mile Houston Ship Channel is one of the country’s of the most important waterways, serving to connect the nation’s largest petrochemical complex with global markets.
Project 11 kicked off in June 2022 after more than a decade of planning and is on schedule for completion in 2025. The project will widen the channel to 700 feet along the Galveston Bay reach and also deepen some upstream segments to 46.5 feet.
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock was awarded the dredging contract for the first segments in 2021.
“The deepening and widening of the channel is a $1 billion commitment to our growing economy, the generation of more jobs in our region, and the safety of the nearly 20,000 vessel transiting the Houston Ship Channel every year,” said Guenther.
Meanwhile continues on the construction of Long Bird Island, using the dredged material, and is expected to be completed later this year. The 4-5-acre new island habitat includes various land elevations, shore protection, oyster wave trips and a lagoon.
Additional dredging is currently underway in the Redfish to Bayport portion of the channel, known as Segment 1B, with completion scheduled for 2024.