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Posted 7/28/2014

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By Patrick Bloodgood


NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a task order to dredge portions of the James River federal navigation channel during the next few months.

As part of the three-year, $12 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quality contract with Cottrell Contracting Corporation, work began on Saturday, July 26 under a $3.2 million task order to dredge 475,000 cubic yards of the sediment that is creating shoals in the James River at Dancing Point and Jordan Point.

The task order marks the third time under the IDIQ contract that Cottrell will be on the river removing dangerous shoals.

“It’s vital that we keep the channel open, safe and navigable for deep draft ships to travel up the river and make port stops in Hopewell and Richmond,” said Walt Trinkala, Norfolk District project manager.

The project, originally authorized by the River and Harbor Act of July 5, 1884, is an economic engine primed for growth for the nation, the commonwealth of Virginia and the communities between the river’s mouth in Hampton Roads to 90.8 miles upstream in Richmond.

“As East Coast ports modernize to accommodate post-Panamax vessels, the James River offers a tremendous opportunity for smaller deep-draft vessels to make a port of call further inland at the Port of Richmond,” said Col. Paul B. Olsen, Norfolk District commander. “This cascading effect is a win-win situation for the Port of Virginia."

Keeping the channel maintained to proper depths means ships drafting 24 feet can travel upriver, which lowers congestion on the Interstate 64 and Route 58 corridors and lowers transportation costs.

“In 2013, more than $66 billion in goods moved in and out of The Port of Virginia and a growing portion of that cargo is moving across The Port of Richmond,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “Maintaining the channels of the James (River) that serve Richmond is critical to its health and expansion of that facility and the regional economy.”

The James River federal navigation channel is maintained to 25 feet deep and 300 feet wide from the mouth to Hopewell, Va., and 25 feet deep by 200 feet wide from the Richmond Deepwater Terminal to the Richmond Lock.

The work is expected to take no longer than 120 days.

Army Corps of Engineers Cottrell dredging James River Norfolk District Port of Richmond Port of Virginia USACE Virginia Port Authority VPA