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USACE Announces Boston Harbor Project Completed Four Months Ahead of Schedule

CONCORD, MA — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District announces that the recently completed Boston Harbor Deep Draft Navigation Improvement Project was finished four months ahead of schedule. The project was a $350-million partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the non-federal sponsors — the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Port Authority of Massachusetts (Massport) — and a multitude of project stakeholders.

Boston Harbor is the largest seaport in New England and the principal distributing point for regional commerce. The Port of Boston supports $8.2 billion in economic impact, resulting in 66,000 jobs for the Commonwealth and New England region. This project, combined with Conley Terminal infrastructure improvements made by Massport, has resulted in significant navigational improvements to Boston Harbor, allowing larger container ships and tankers for both dry bulk and petroleum to access the various terminals, ultimately reducing transportation costs and improving efficiency of maritime transportation of goods to the New England Region.

“The ability for larger vessels to call on Boston is critical to New England’s economy and supports USACE’s core navigation mission,” said Jenifer Thalhauser, USACE New England District Chief of Navigation. As a result of the dredging project and Massport’s recent upgrades to Conley Container Terminal, including a brand-new berth and three new ship-to-shore cranes, the Port of Boston now serves 12,000 TEU vessels and has increased its direct global connectivity to reach 18 additional ports in China, Southeast Asia, India, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Northern Europe, and Latin America. These new global connections will benefit more than 2,500 businesses that utilize Conley Container Terminal to import and export goods.

The Boston Harbor Deep Draft Improvement Project involved three major phases. The first contract, maintenance dredging of the inner harbor and construction of a Confined Aquatic Disposal cell, was completed in December of 2017. The second contract was awarded to a joint venture of Cashman Dredging and Dutra Dredging Group in 2018 for $122 million and involved mechanically dredging approximately 11.7 million cubic yards of clay, gravel, sand, and fractured rock within Boston Harbor’s North Channel, Main Ship Channel, Turning Basin, Reserved Channel, and Presidents Road Anchorage. The second contract work began July of 2018 and was completed in November 2020, a year ahead of schedule.

The third and final contract involved dredging, drilling, and removal of hard rock to complete the deepening project work. That phase of the project was completed in June 2022 by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock LLC, who were awarded the contract in March 2021 for $61.8 million. The company began work in June 2021 by mechanically dredging rock in localized areas of the harbor and removing the remaining rock by drilling, removal, and dredging the rock material.

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