Ship part

Houston Ship Channel expansion secures additional $142 million in funding

Federal officials send millions dollars to fund the ongoing expansion of the bustling Houston Ship Channel, a project that community members and advocates are watching closely to ensure the work contributes as little air pollution as possible.

The main concern of those living along the channel is that workers continue to use relatively clean equipment.

Approximately $142 million has been set aside under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for the project, according to a US Army Corps of Engineers Press release who followed a story reported for the first time by Houston Public Media. Another $40 million from President Joe Biden’s budget will go to channel operations and maintenance.

The additional funding marks the end of what is known as Project 11.
The undertaking includes both the deepening and widening of the 52-mile channel, which crosses the shallow Galveston Bay and up the narrow and winding Buffalo Bayou.

Port Houston officials hailed the project as a necessary step to improve efficiency and safety along the channel as ships get bigger and bigger. The Port is working on the project with the Corps. The federal government pays just under half the cost.

“This federal funding is critical to keeping Project 11 on track and achieving a safer, faster and cleaner shipping channel for all users,” Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther said in a statement. in January when the financing plan was announced.

Houston’s waterway is so narrow that specially trained boat pilots perform the famous “Texas Chicken” maneuver to pass each other, heading straight for each other, then turning as they approach so that the forces in the water do not push or pull them into each other.

Environmental advocates support a safer way for ships that sometimes carry hazardous materials to pass, but they and local residents have pressed the port to hire companies that use cleaner dredging equipment. The harbor commissioners agreed to do this when they hired a company to start the first phase of the work.

The recently announced federal funding is specifically for segment three, which involves changes to Barbours Cut, an offshoot of the canal located near Morgan’s Point on Galveston Bay. The whole project is estimated at around 1 billion dollars and the works are should be completed by 2025.

[email protected]