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Friday, August 5, 2016

Plan to Deepen Seattle Harbor Up for Comment

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comment on a newly released plan to deepen the Seattle Harbor in order for it to handle ultra-large containerships.

Under the Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement Project Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment, the Army Corps of Engineers and Port of Seattle have agreed on a tentatively selected plan of 57 feet mean lower low water (MLLW) for both the East and West waterways.

This depth, according to the Port of Seattle, would allow it to handle the current and future generations of ultra-large containerships, which have capacities of 14,500 twenty-foot equivalent units and higher.

“Large ships with deep drafts are being deployed globally and on the West Coast. Authorization of a depth of 57 feet will preserve our gateway’s ability to provide sufficient depth for the future fleet of ships,” said Port of Tacoma Commission President Connie Bacon. Bacon is also co-chair of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, an operating partnership between the Seattle and Tacoma ports.

The selected plan, according to the Army Corps, is technically feasible, environmentally sustainable and maximizes the national economic development benefits.

The environmental assessment component identifies and analyzes the environmental effects of the alternatives for deepening, incorporates environmental concerns into the decision making process and determines whether further environmental analysis is necessary.

Comments on the Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment may be submitted by email, at the upcoming public meeting or in written form.

Comments will be accepted via email to SeattleHarbor@usace.army.mil or can be mailed to:

Nancy Gleason US Army Corps of Engineers
CENWS-PM-ER
P.O. Box 3755
Seattle, Washington 98124-3755

Comments via email will be accepted through Aug. 31. All mailed comments must be postmarked by Aug. 31.