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Deepening Project - Ongoing Contract/Construction Status

Rock Removal within Upper Reach B (Contract #8)

  • Awarded 9/30/2015 to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. for $76.8 million
  • Work approximately 75% complete through 1st and 2nd construction windows (December thru mid-March, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017)
  • 3rd construction window (Dec. 1, 2017 thru March 15, 2018) needed to finish contract
  • Controlled underwater blasting of rock outcrops from SW of Phila Intl Airport to Claymont, DE, followed by dredging and upland placement of blasted rock
  • CLICK HERE or on thumbnail for map/factsheet
  • CLICK HERE to view a rock blasting video


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. Six contracts have been completed; one is under construction; and another is ongoing. 

45' Project

Contracts 1-7

Contract 8

Contract 9

Contract 10

Channel Maintenance

Project Timeline Project Economics
Prior Channel Deepenings
The deeper channel will provide for more efficient transportation of containerized, dry bulk (steel and slag) and liquid bulk (crude oil and petroleum products) cargo to and from the Delaware River ports, with estimated net annualized benefits of more than $13 million to the U.S. economy. Under a Project Partnership Agreement signed in 2008, the total cost of initial construction, approximately $300 million, is shared 35 percent by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority as the non-federal sponsor, and 65 percent by the federal government through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Dredged Material Placement

More than 16 million cubic yards of material must be removed during initial construction. Of that amount, approximately 12 million cubic yards of silt, clay, sand and gravel will be dredged from the river portion of the project. The bulk of the dredging is being performed by hopper and hydraulic pipeline dredges, with a bucket dredge used for rock removal in the Marcus Hook area. The river material is being placed at five existing federal upland confined disposal facilities (CDFs) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. (All these sites have been used for channel maintenance ever since it was deepened to 40 feet in the early 1940s, and have more than enough long-term capacity to continue in that role for at least 50 years after the deepening is complete.)

The remaining 4 million cubic yards is primarily good quality sand from the Delaware Bay, half of which was dredged and placed for initial construction of the Corps' coastal storm damage reduction project (dune and beach nourishment) at Broadkill Beach, Del. under Contract #7. The rest will be placed at one of the federal upland CDFs (Artificial Island) under Contract #9.

Project Photos