In The Media

Sharing HDR’s Gulf Coast Port Channel Improvement Permitting Successes

Three HDR experts with deep knowledge of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulations shared tips for streamlining channel improvement work with AAPA Seaports magazine.

In the magazine’s fourth quarter 2022 issue, HDR’s Neil McLellan, Dan Heilman and Jason Foltyn detailed how HDR assisted several Gulf Coast ports and navigation districts in decreasing the time of critical channel deepening and widening projects.

They shared case studies from:

  • Port Houston, which funded the feasibility report and launched design early
  • Port of Brownsville, which implemented an innovative public-private partnership
  • Port Freeport, which paid to build a seawall that allowed the channel work to move forward
  • The Sabine-Neches Navigation District, which opted to conduct the first phase by deepening the whole channel from 40 to 44 feet, rather than deepening half the channel to 48 feet

“The economic benefits are significant,” they wrote. “Consider that a widening project can open a channel to two-way traffic, relieving some of the current supply chain crunch. Considering just five feet of deepening can allow ships with 20% more product — meaning four vessels could hold the same amount of cargo that otherwise requires five, tremendously cutting transportation costs.

“Participating ports and navigation districts can leverage local funding and creative collaboration with the USACE to move their projects along, while following the Corps’ permitting and construction regulations.”

Read the article "Using Local Funding Creatively to Streamline the Federal Channel Improvement Process" on the Seaports website.

channel deepening timeline
Dan Heilman
Coastal Engineering Lead
Jason Foltyn
Senior Project Manager