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BIH Project gets a boost: Great Lakes receive notice to proceed with channel deepening project

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The Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project in Brownsville, Texas, has received a boost as Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation has been given the Notice to Proceed. The project aims to improve the Brownsville ship channel for NextDecade Corporation’s Rio Grande LNG project at the Port of Brownsville.

Great Lakes will begin Phase 1 of the project later this year. The main objective of the BIH project is to deepen the 17-mile-long Brownsville ship channel from its current depth of 42 feet to 52 feet. This will result in significant improvements in navigational safety for commercial shipping in South Texas.

The port director and CEO, Eduardo A. Campirano, emphasised the importance of the BIH Channel Improvement Project for the regional economy. He stated that it will strengthen the port’s position as a critical player in the global supply chain. As cargo volumes continue to increase, the project will enhance the port’s capabilities and support sustainable growth for the industries it serves.

The BIH project consists of two phases and is funded through a Public-Private Partnership (P3) between the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Port of Brownsville, and NextDecade. NextDecade has agreed to cover 100 percent of the costs for Phase 1, including the deepening of the channel and the development of ship berths and a turning basin for the Rio Grande LNG facility. Phase 2, which involves deepening the channel from the turning basin area to the Rio Grande LNG site, will be executed by the Port of Brownsville and the USACE.

The federal government has also allocated $68 million for Phase 2 of the project under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Appropriations Law, which was announced in March 2022.

Lasse Petterson, president and CEO of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation, expressed excitement about the project, calling it the largest undertaken in the company’s 133-year history. He looks forward to collaborating with NextDecade, the USACE, and the Port of Brownsville to complete this important improvement project, which will benefit navigation interests and facilitate future development at the Port of Brownsville.

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