The U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers (USACE) is planning on the completion of its three-year feasibility study and has recommended a channel improvement plan to widen, deepen and extend Corpus Christi's current channel system. The $190 million dredging project is planned to have an estimated completion date of 2007 and would immediately improve ship and barge transportation, further preparing the Port of Corpus Christi for the future. The Port is the local sponsor of this federal planning process lead by the U.S. Army Corps. Underway is the second part of a two-phase planning process to determine the feasibility of the project and to develop an Environmental Impact Statement. The estimated $6.7 million study is being equally cost shared between the Port of Corpus Christi and the Corps of Engineers. Congressional authorization will be sought in the Water Resources Development Act of 2002. The Port of Corpus Christi requested a study to improve the safety and efficiency of the Port's channel system and to develop new business opportunities for the region. After completing a reconnaissance study, which resulted in benefits proceeding costs, the COE began the feasibility study in June of 1999. Seventeen alternative plans were evaluated and screened down to the recommended improvements which include widening the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to 530 ft., adding barge shelves on both sides of the ship channel across
Corpus Christi Bay to improve channel traffic, with expected completion by 2003/2004, deepening the channel to 52 ft., and extending La Quinta Channel approximately 1.4 miles to the site for a proposed container terminal.