Please review the FAQ below, and contact us if you have any further questions.
Question: How long will Project 11 take?
Answer: Federal and Port of Houston stakeholders are working collaboratively to accelerate the construction of the project, start dredging by 2021, and finish the work by 2024.
The need for these channel improvements is significant, so Port Houston, the Corps of Engineers, as well as private industry are working in partnership to bring this project to reality as soon as possible. The priority is to accelerate the project’s construction by pursuing innovative solutions and increasing the local share of the project’s costs.
Alternatively, with no acceleration and using the traditional federal process, the project would likely not be completed until 2030 at best.
Question: How much is it going to cost to make these improvements?
Answer: The total cost of the project is expected to reach nearly $1 billion.
Question: Who is paying for all this work?
Answer: Because the improvements are needed as soon as possible, Port Houston and channel industries are developing funding solutions to pay for more than the customary 25% local share of the project’s overall cost and accelerate construction.
Under the traditional process, because the Houston Ship Channel is a federal waterway, the cost of improvements is shared between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which pays for 75%, and the local sponsor of the waterway (Port Houston), which pays 25%.
Question: Why don’t we widen even more so we don’t have to widen again later?
Answer: The proposed project will widen the Houston Ship Channel through Galveston Bay from 530 feet wide to 700 feet, among other safety and operational improvements. This width will ensure two-way traffic on the waterway for the largest vessels expecting to visit the Port of Houston in the coming years. This width, along with other planned project improvements, is based on cost-benefit analysis work performed by the Corps of Engineers.
As they have done for more than a century, Port Houston and the Corps of Engineers will also continue to examine improvements that are needed next, to ensure the Houston Ship Channel remains safe and efficient.
Question: How does this project affect the environment?
Answer: The channel improvements will help safely accommodate the growth of commerce at the Port of Houston. A wider channel is a safer channel that should help reduce the potential for collisions and similar incidents that can cause harmful spills.
In addition to widening, deepening, and other safety improvements, material dredged from the ship channel will be used for beneficial purposes. Working with federal and state environmental and wildlife agencies, the project will create bird islands, build additional marshland, and mitigate for effects on oyster beds.
A wider channel also enables ships to move more efficiently, and the larger vessels it will permit can move more cargo with fewer transits. All of this helps reduce ship emissions.
Question: Will these improvements impact either flood or storm surge mitigation efforts in the region?
Answer: There are no specific flood mitigation or storm surge mitigation features as part of this project.
Port Houston is, however, working closely with Harris County and the City of Houston on developing flood mitigation solutions that benefit both the communities as well as the Port of Houston.
Looking ahead, there may be opportunities to contemplate storm surge mitigation features as a part of future channel improvement projects.
Question: Will there be opportunities for the community to learn about the project?
Answer: This website will remain a good resource for information about the project. Port Houston is also developing plans to communicate to the community throughout the project.
Question: What can I do to help?
Answer: In order to move forward with this project, Congress must approve it – also called authorization – in the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA 2020).
Please contact your state and local members of Congress and ask them to authorize the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Project in WRDA 2020.