Virginia legislators lobby for additional funding for Norfolk Harbor dredging

A USACE survey vessel at Norfolk International Terminal (Photo: USACE)

A US Congressional delegation led by US Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia has requested that the federal government prioritise the Norfolk Harbor Widening and Deepening project by including at least US$83.7 million for the project in the fiscal year 2022 federal budget request.

In a letter to President Joe Biden, the delegation stressed the importance of ensuring that the project has the federal funding it needs to proceed as scheduled.

The project will expand Norfolk Harbor’s shipping channels and ensure that larger commercial and military vessels can continue to pass through the harbour safely, especially in light of the rapid growth of vessels entering maritime trade.

Construction on the first constructible element of the Norfolk Harbor project, deepening Thimble Shoal Channel – West, began in December 2019 and was carried out jointly by the Port of Virginia and the Norfolk District Office of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

The legislators said dredging of this same channel is on target to reach 80 per cent completion early in the second quarter of 2021. A work package for the next constructible element, Thimble Shoal Channel – East deepening and widening, will be ready for advertisement at that point.

The legislators said, however, that the congressionally authorised federal share of this project has yet to be funded.

While the Port of Virginia has been able to use non-federal funds to keep the project on schedule, any further delay in federal funding will delay the project and risk increasing costs, the delegation added.

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