Delaware River Main Channel Deepening

USACE Philadelphia District
Published July 2, 2021
Updated: April 25, 2022
The cutterhead of the Dredge Pullen during the first contract of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening project. The 102 mile project deepens the federal channel from 40 to 45 feet.

The cutterhead of the Dredge Pullen during the first contract of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening project. The 102 mile project deepens the federal channel from 40 to 45 feet.

The Dredge Pullen works in the Delaware River during the first contract of the Main Channel Deepening project. The 102 mile project deepens the federal channel from 40 to 45 feet.

The Dredge Pullen works in the Delaware River during the first contract of the Main Channel Deepening project. The 102 mile project deepens the federal channel from 40 to 45 feet.

The Dredge Pullen works in the Delaware River during the first contract of the Main Channel Deepening project. The 102 mile project deepens the federal channel from 40 to 45 feet.

The Dredge Pullen works in the Delaware River during the first contract of the Main Channel Deepening project. The 102 mile project deepens the federal channel from 40 to 45 feet.

The Dredge Pullen works in the Delaware River during the first contract of the Main Channel Deepening project. The 102 mile project deepens the federal channel from 40 to 45 feet.

The Dredge Pullen works in the Delaware River during the first contract of the Main Channel Deepening project. The 102 mile project deepens the federal channel from 40 to 45 feet.

Aerial view of Delaware River, Dredging

Aerial view of Delaware River, Dredging

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Philadelphia District and its contractor Weeks Marine prepare to begin beachfill construction at Broadkill Beach, Delaware as part of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening project in March of 2015. The project involves dredging sand from the Delaware River to deepen the river for navigation purposes and placing on the beach to reduce future storm damages.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Philadelphia District and its contractor Weeks Marine prepare to begin beachfill construction at Broadkill Beach, Delaware as part of the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening project in March of 2015. The project involves dredging sand from the Delaware River to deepen the river for navigation purposes and placing on the beach to reduce future storm damages.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS: DE-AL, NJ-1, NJ-2, PA-5, PA-3

APPROPRIATION / PHASE: Construction, General

BUSINESS PROGRAM: Navigation

AUTHORITY: The project was authorized for construction by Public Law 102-580, Section 101 (6) of WRDA 1992; modified by Public Law 106-53, Section 308 of WRDA 1999 and further modified by Public Law 106-541, Section 306 of WRDA 2000.

LOCATION: The project area is located within the Delaware Estuary and borders Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.  It extends over 100 miles of the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey, to the mouth of the Delaware Bay.

DESCRIPTION: The project includes: deepening the existing Delaware River Federal Navigation Channel from 40 to 45 feet from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey, to the mouth of the Delaware Bay; appropriate bend widening; partial deepening of the Marcus Hook anchorage; and relocation and addition of aids to navigation. Cutter-suction, hopper, and mechanical dredges will be used to remove material from the channel. The dredged material from the Delaware River portion of the project will be placed in Federally-owned confined upland disposal facilities. Dredged material from the Delaware Bay portion of the project will be used for two beneficial use projects.

PROJECT GOALS:  The purpose of this project provides deepening of the existing Delaware River Federal Navigation Channel, bend widening, partial deepening of the Marcus Hook anchorage; and relocation and addition of aids to navigation. 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

STATUS: With the completion of the rock blasting contract (8th construction contract) the project to deepen the Delaware River Main Channel to 45 feet was completed in Feb 2020. Fiscal close-out is underway. The Pilots’ Association for the Bay and River Delaware & Maritime Advisory Committee requested in a May 2020 letter that hazardous shoal areas be removed as they directly affect their ability to safely turn and dock container vessels in the vicinity of Packer Avenue Marine Terminal. Corps has reviewed the request & USACEHQ in a 1 Dec 2020 memorandum delegated authority to the NAD Commander to approve proposed dredging under Section 5 of the RHAA of 1915, subject to the NAD Commander’s determination that the work is necessary to allow design vessels to maneuver with greater ease and safety.  A determination analysis has been completed by the District & on 24 Mar 21 NAD completed its review and approved NAP’s Determination Analysis and concluded the work is necessary to allow design vessels to maneuver with greater ease and safety. On 30 Mar 21 meeting held with PhilaPort to discuss approval, path forward and need for NFS funding for investigations, design and construction. As approved the work would be singular dredging operation and not apply to future dredging cycles. It is also understood that the work would be considered a project cost for cost sharing purposes. Additional Federal funds are not required. PhilaPort  would fund this work with a combination of accelerated funds and Section 308 credits as permitted in the PPA. USACE is awaiting PhilaPort decision on path forward.

SPONSOR: PhilaPort (Formerly Philadelphia Regional Port Authority) .

DATE OF PROJECT PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT:  23 June 2008     

PROJECT MANAGER: Scott Evans