1853 – 1857
After the State of Texas appropriates $46,000, Buffalo Bayou and Galveston Bay are first improved for navigation.
1870 – 1874
The first federal channel survey shows the Houston Ship Channel to be at least 4 feet deep and 70 feet wide, and the first federal channel appropriations soon follow, at a project cost of $20,000.
1877 – 1882
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers improve the channel to 14.5 feet across Galveston Bay, through Redfish Bar, and to the mouth of the San Jacinto River.
1897 – 1908
The next federal project deepened the channel to 18.5 feet, and the Turning Basin at the head of channel navigation was dredged.
1912 - 1914
The Houston Ship Channel is dredged to 25 feet deep and 150 feet wide, and is officially established as a deep-water port. The channel opens for ocean-going vessels in November 1914.
A federal project follows soon after and deepens the new ocean-going channel to 30 feet.
Following the unprecedented growth of Port of Houston refining facilities, the channel is again deepened, to 34 feet, and widened to 400 feet through Galveston Bay.
The ship channel is a vital artery during World War II, bringing the birth of Port of Houston’s petrochemical industries, and the next deepening to 36 feet followed in peacetime.
Continued growth ushers in the federal project to deepen the channel to 40 feet.
1968 – 2005
To better serve Port of Houston manufacturing industries, the channel is deepened to 45 feet and widened to 530 feet through Galveston Bay, and environmental restoration projects are constructed with dredged material.
2012 – Present
The federal feasibility report studying proposed improvements is expected to be completed in May 2020, with Congressional authorization later in the year. The Port Authority, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and industry are working together to expedite the project start and its completion.