Port Tampa Bay completes channel expansion

Big Bend Channel expansion Tampa. Credit: Jay Knickerbocker Photography

The Big Bend Channel Expansion project in Tampa, Florida, has been completed a year ahead of schedule, Port Tampa Bay has announced.

The completion of the USD63million project, which saw the Big Bend Channel widened and deepened, now allows for larger ships to call at the terminals. The project, originally estimated to take 18 months to complete, was awarded to Great Lakes Dredge & Docks Company. The company started work in October 2018 and completed the final dredging works at the beginning of April 2019, a year ahead of schedule.

During the project, the entrance to the channel, the east and west channel, inner channel, turning basin, and local service facilities at Big Bend was deepened from 10 to 13m. The entrance channel was widened from 60 to 76m for a length of 3km. The existing turning basin was deepened to 13m as well and was expanded to 365m.

The dredged material was used to create 40 hectares of new nesting and roosting areas in one of two port-owned, 202 hectare spoil islands in Hillsborough Bay. This undertaking was a joint venture by Tampa Bay environmental engineers and the US Army Corps of Engineers to use the dredged material in an environmentally friendly way, coinciding with the beginning of the annual migratory bird nesting season.

The project is part of reshaping the area of Port Redwing in Tampa Bay, turning it into a manufacturing and distribution district, and a hub for warehousing in the next decade.