US Army Corps of Engineers
Philadelphia District & Marine Design Center

Deepening Project - Construction Status

COMPLETE – Reaches AA, A, B (Lower), C, D, E

ONGOING – Reach B (Upper) – rock removal, remaining dredging

  • Controlled underwater blasting of rock outcrops from SW of Philadelphia International Airport to Claymont, DE, followed by dredging and upland placement of blasted rock

 

Delaware River Main Channel Deepening

This project involves dredging as needed within the existing 40-foot Delaware River federal navigation channel to deepen it to 45 feet from Philadelphia Harbor, Pa. and Beckett Street Terminal, Camden, N.J. along a 102.5-mile distance to deepwater in the Delaware Bay. A total of 10 contracts have been awarded to perform the work, with nine complete and one still under construction.

The deeper channel allows for more efficient transportation of containerized, dry and liquid bulk, break bulk, roll-on/roll-off, and project cargoes to and from the Delaware River ports. Under a Project Partnership Agreement signed in 2008, the total cost is shared 35 percent by PhilaPort (formerly Philadelphia Regional Port Authority) as the non-federal sponsor, and 65 percent by the federal government through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Initial construction has involved removal of some 16 million cubic yards of material. About 12 million of that total was silt, clay, sand and gravel from the river portion of the project, being placed at existing federal upland confined disposal facilities (CDFs) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The Delaware Bay accounted for the remaining 4 million cubic yards, almost half of which was good quality sand that was dredged and placed for initial construction of the Corps' coastal storm risk management project (dune and beach nourishment) at Broadkill Beach, Del. The remainder was placed at the southernmost CDF (Artificial Island).

Most of the dredging has been performed by hopper dredges and hydraulic pipeline dredges, with bucket dredges used where needed for larger diameter material, and in tandem with rock blasting operations in the Marcus Hook area.

Project Photos

The hydraulic dredge New York, owned by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, conducts rock removal operations in December of 2018 along the Delaware River as part of the deepening project.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor deepened Reach AA of the main channel of the Delaware River in 2014-2015. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company used a bucket dredge to complete the work along the river from the Ben Franklin Bridge to the Walt Whitman bridge.
The Dredge Illinois, owned and operated by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, conducts dredging in the Reach A portion of the Delaware River in 2012 as part of the main channel deepening project.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor Weeks Marine dredged sand from the Delaware Bay and placed at Broadkill Beach, Delaware in 2015. This portion of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening project served two purposes - deepening the main channel of the bay and building a dune and berm to reduce the risk of storm damages for the community.
The drillboat Apache, owned and operated by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, conducts rock blasting operations off Chester, Pa., in January of 2016. Work is part of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening project, a joint effort of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and PhilaPort.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company conducted rock blasting operations as part of the project to deepen the main channel of the Delaware River from 40 to 45 feet. The project allows for more efficient transportation of cargo to and from Delaware River ports.
The Hopper Dredge Stuyvesant, owned and operated by the Dutra Group, conducts dredging in Reach D of the Delaware River as part of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening project in 2013. The project is a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and PhilaPort.
The Dredge Charleston, owned and operated by Norfolk Dredging Company, conducts dredging of Reach C of the Delaware River in June of 2010. Work is part of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening project, a joint effort of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and PhilaPort.