Port Houston awards $429M in dredging contracts to widen channel

Port Houston awarded $429 million to Weeks Marine and Curtin Maritime Corp. to dredge the Houston ship channel.

Two contracts totaling $429.4 million for the dredging of the Houston ship channel have been awarded to Weeks Marine and Curtin Maritime Corp.

The announcement was made during a special meeting of the port’s board of commissioners Friday. The commissioners also awarded a combined $20.5 million for engineering and auditing services, as well as construction design and project management contracts, to Atkins North America, Freese and Nichols, Turner Collie and Braden, and Gahagan and Bryant Associates.

“We think this is the largest we’ve ever made for a dredging contract,” Port Chairman Ric Campo said during the meeting. “It’s really exciting for Houston, and our entire region, for the people that rely on the ship channel for their livelihoods and all the essential goods and imports and exports that go out of our area.”

Port Houston officially kicked off the $1.1 billion expansion of the ship channel earlier this month. Dubbed Project 11, the expansion will allow the channel to accommodate an additional 1,400 vessels per year and could generate up to $134 billion more annually in economic impact once completed.

Port Houston is a 25-mile-long complex of nearly 200 private and public industrial terminals along the 52-mile-long man-made channel, which connects the port to the Gulf of Mexico.

Weeks Marine and Curtin Maritime Corp. will dredge a 17.3-mile section of the ship channel that includes the Bayport ship channel as well as the Barbours Cut and Bayport container terminals.

The portion of the ship channel from Redfish Island to the Barbours Cut Container Terminal will be widened to 700 feet. A section of the channel near Bayport, Texas, will be widened to 455 feet.

Cranford, New, Jersey-based Weeks Marine will perform hydraulic dredging for a contract totaling $329.6 million. Long Beach, California-based Curtin Maritime will perform mechanical dredging for a contract totaling $99.8 million. 

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. was awarded a $95 million contract in October, which also includes oyster mitigation and construction of a bird island. 

The channel widening and deepening project is scheduled to be completed in 2025. Planning for Project 11 began in 2010.

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