Houston Ship Channel Expansion Underway
October 2021 – the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority awarded the first major dredge contract for the project to cover 11 1/2 miles of the 52-mile channel, widening a major portion of the Galveston Bay reach. The work includes construction of a new bird island and oyster mitigation and reductions in NOx emissions as compared to Tier 3 equipment. The contract also supports participation of small, minority-and woman-owned businesses (S/MWBE) in the project with $6.48 million allocated to S/MWBEs as part of the contract.
June 2022 – the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority awarded two of the largest contracts in the organization’s history. The Commission awarded Weeks Marine and Curtin Maritime Corporation contracts totaling $430 million to complete the remaining Galveston Bay segments of the Houston Ship Channel Expansion – Project 11.
December 2022 – Dredging began on package 4B/5 within segment 1B. This includes the placement of material to build San Leon Oyster Reef sites. Click to learn more about the San Leon and Dollar Reef Oyster Mitigation Sites.
January 2023 – Some work scheduled between January 2023 – Oct. 2023 will be conducted near the Shoreacres and La Porte communities, including some sections near the Houston Yacht Club. The planned activity will be similar to when we widened the Bayport Channel in 2015. You might notice this work as it happens, but we are taking steps to minimize impacts to your area.
We are also replanting trees that were removed due to construction and made significant adjustments in our dredging contracts to ensure the work necessary to deepen and widen the channel supports sound mitigation measures and use of low emissions equipment.
This includes sound absorption, noise wall installments, vibration damping application in engine rooms, limited use of speakers, smokestack rotation away from nearby communities and limited night transit activity by boat crews to minimize disruptions as much as possible.
Estimated sound absorption due to changes:
- -12 dBA due to exhaust tail pipes turned away from community
- -6 dBA due to sound absorption applied to corridor outside inlet vents
- -10 dBA due to closed engine room doors during operations
- -8 dBA due to 18’ tall by 50’ long noise wall installment
- -3 dBA due to vibration damping applied to walls of engine room
- -1 dBA (for hourly avg. without PA) due to reduced use of PA system with exterior speakers
For your awareness, please note the following activity during this work period near your area (this is an active construction project; information is subject to change):
February 2023 – The U.S. Coast Guard publishes a weekly notice to mariners, below you will find the notice posted regarding work in the Houston Ship Channel. To access the full document you can also visit this site: Local Notices to Mariners | Navigation Center (uscg.gov)
- Curtin Maritime Corporation notice to mariners, click here
March 2023 – Segment 1A has been officially completed and accepted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Work completed in this area will eliminate daylight restrictions for large vessels within this segment, positively impacting industry.
June 2023 – Weeks Marine notice to mariners, click here
July 2023 – Weeks Marine notice to mariners, click here
November 2023 – Weeks Marine notice to mariners, click here
The Houston Ship Channel is an economic powerhouse and home to the busiest port in the nation for waterborne tonnage. It supports job creation and flow of cargo in and out of the region. The Work conducted now to deepen and widen the channel will address navigation safety concerns for larger deep-draft vessels in the future, which make up increasing percentages of the world’s fleet.
Questions? Call our Community Information Line at 713.670.1000