Marking the start of National Infrastructure Week, Port Houston has held a ceremony breaking the ground for the start of construction work to support widening and deepening the 52-mile Houston Ship Channel.
Known as Project 11, the near one billion dollar project is designed to create safer and more efficient navigation for the ships and vessels calling the more than 200 private and eight public terminals that comprise the Port of Houston.
“Our port serves as the anchor for the Texas region,” Port Houston Chairman Ric Campo said. “Expanding the Houston Ship Channel to accommodate the growth of vessel calls, vessel sizes, and cargo needs for customers and consumers will continue providing over 3.2 million jobs and $802 billion in economic value to the nation.”
Port Houston is the local sponsor of the Houston Ship Channel, providing stewardship of the federal waterway. Executive Director Roger Guenther praised its strong partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He applauded the USACE’s “continued commitment” to delivering for the Texas Gulf coast “vital engineering solutions to secure our nation, energize our economy, while also reducing disaster risks.”
“As we begin construction of Project 11, we have a glimpse into the future we are building,” Guenther said. “This project will enable vessels to deliver goods to our doorsteps, export USA-made cargo around the world, provide safe passage for thousands of ships, and shape the livelihoods of millions of Americans for generations to come.”
“The Army Corps of Engineers looks forward to continuing to partner with Port Houston to deepen and widen this lifeline for our nation’s exporters and importers. Port Houston is a perfect example of ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way,’” said Galveston Engineer District Col. Timothy Vail, in remarks during Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony
“The port and the Army Corps of Engineers are making sure that this project is delivered in line with the priorities of the American people, which are to get it done fast, so we see immediate returns on the transportation efficiencies it will provide, and to start thinking about what’s next,” he said..
Chairman Campo recognized the support and collaboration “of hundreds of stakeholders” including “the steadfast advocacy of our local and Congressional delegations, the leadership of Col. Vail and his team, the vision of the Port Commission, and the expertise of our contractors, designers, and Port Houston staff” to reach this milestone.
The first Project 11 construction contract was awarded by Port Houston at the April Port Commission meeting, and will prepare the site to receive dredge material as the channel is expanded. In addition, more than half of the total $24 million in contracts approved at that meeting were to support Project 11 efforts.