Port of Sacramento plans to deepen channel to 35 feet

The following is a press release issued April 10 by the Port of Sacramento:
(WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — The Port of Sacramento today announced that the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has voted to provide $10 million from the Proposition 1B Trade Corridor Improvement Fund for a project deepen the Port’s 43-mile ship channel from 30 feet to 35 feet. 

“We’re very pleased that the CTC understood the value of this much-needed project.  Deepening the channel will significantly improve the competitive position of the Port as we continue to expand its role in the Sacramento region’s economy,” said Mike McGowan, Chairman of the Sacramento-Yolo Port District Commission.

The $2 billion Trade Corridor Improvement Fund (TCIF) was created when California voters approved Proposition 1B, a $19.9 billion bond measure for statewide transportation projects, on the November 2006 ballot (see http://www.catc.ca.gov/programs/tcif.htm ).

The channel-deepening project is estimated to cost up to $80 million.  In addition to the $10 million approved today by the CTC, the Port will provide $10 million and it is seeking up to $60 million in federal funding through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The deep-water ship channel runs from West Sacramento to the San Francisco Bay near Rio Vista.  Deepening the channel by five feet will enable approximately 75 percent of the world’s shipping fleet to enter the Port fully loaded.  Currently only 30 percent of the world’s ships can enter the Port with full loads.

The first eight miles of the deep-water ship channel extending from the Port were lowered to 35 feet by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in 1989 but the additional 35 miles of the channel remain at their original 30 foot depth, reducing the Port’s operating efficiency.

Because the deepened-channel will enable more goods – including cement, fertilizer, lumber, steel, wind energy equipment, project cargo, rice and large construction materials – to be moved into and from the Sacramento area by ship, at least 23,545 two-way truck trips will be removed annually from Interstate 80 between the Port and Bay Area, with corresponding air quality and congestion benefits. 

The project also will provide up to 6.4 million cubic yards of material for potential use on Delta flood levees.

“This is a project with significant benefits for the Sacramento region and state,” said Christopher Cabaldon, West Sacramento Mayor and Port Commissioner.  “It helps to reduce congestion and air emissions, produces material to help strengthen area levees, and increases the efficiency with which materials to support the Sacramento region’s economic growth can be exported and imported.”

Construction is planned to begin in 2010 with completion by 2013.

The Port of Sacramento has a strategic alliance with the Port of Oakland who has assisted the Port of Sacramento in achieving the goals of the Port, including deepening of the ship channel.  This ten year alliance has benefitted both Ports who are striving to improve air quality, reduce congestion and move cargo through Northern California.

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By Professional Mariner Staff