USACE Continues to Embrace Innovation at the San Juan Harbor Dredging and Deepening Project

Recognizing the vital role the San Juan Harbor plays in the economy of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Task Force Virgin Islands Puerto Rico (TF-VIPR) highlighted the beginning of the dredging and deepening phase of the San Juan Harbor during the First Bucket Ceremony hosted by Puerto Rico’s Governor, Pedro Pierluisi, and Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director, Joel Pizá.

advertisement

The updates include widening and deepening the inner harbor channels used by cruise ships and petroleum terminal operators, while protecting the Nation’s environment. Details about the project include deepening Cut-6 of the entrance channel to -47 feet, deepening the Army Terminal Channel (ATC) and Army Terminal Turning Basin (ATTB) to 46 feet, deepening channels adjacent to cruise ships terminal to -37 feet and widening the ATC by 100 feet, as well as adding flares where the ATC meets the ATTB. These upgrades will improve the economic efficiency of commercial navigation at the main seaport of the island.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Task Force Virgin Islands Puerto Rico (TF-VIPR) Commander, Col. Charles L. Decker, offers remarks during the First Bucket Ceremony for the San Juan Dredging and Deepening Project alongside Puerto Rico Governor, Pedro Pierluisi, USACE TF-VIPR Deputy for Programs & Project Management, Jacqueline Keiser, PG, PMP, and Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director, Joel Pizá. USACE PHOTO BY JENNIFER GARCIA

“We are eager to begin this new phase in the San Juan Harbor Dredging and Deepening Project along with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority as our Non-Federal sponsor,” mentioned USACE TF-VIPR Commander, Col. Charles Decker. “Our project will result in an upgraded harbor that will meet the modern demands of the growing global and local economy while protecting our Nation’s vital natural and environmental resources. Once completed, the safer, faster, and more cost-effective operations of San Juan Harbor will have cascading benefits for the communities of Puerto Rico which the USACE and Task Force VIPR are proud to serve.”, he added. During his remarks, Decker thanked USACE’s Jacksonville and Savannah districts for the outstanding technical support provided in delivering this project.

The San Juan Harbor is an economic engine and essential lifeline for the island of Puerto Rico. The majority of the cargo and cruise ships enter this harbor, which handles more than seventy-five percent of all non-petroleum waterborne commerce.

advertisement

During the ceremony the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, praised the collaboration between federal and local agencies. “These efforts are part of a comprehensive economic development strategy that seeks to expand our ability to attract maritime traffic, including for the cruise tourism industry. The teamwork between the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been key to achieving this project, to include assistance in the design and coordination with the entire community and maritime industry of the Island. It is a great example of how the state and federal government are collaborating in hundreds of capital improvement projects throughout Puerto Rico,” Pierluisi stated.

To continue providing engineering solutions to the Nation’s toughest challenges and successfully upgrade the San Juan Harbor to meet the modern demands of the growing local economy, USACE awarded a contract to Curtin Maritime for $56.7 million. The California-based company will be using the state-of-the-Art vessel DB Avalon, the largest and one of the most efficient clamshell dredges in North America.

 

The state-of-the-art vessel DB Avalon, the largest and one of the most efficient clamshell dredges in North America, operated by Curtin Maritime, was designed with a fully automated dredging system and is capable of an all-electric operation, with shore-power connection, making it a true zero-emissions operation. The groundbreaking system in this vessel greatly minimizes turbidity pollution and the necessity to clean-up dig, completing depth targets faster and further reducing carbon footprint of any project. USACE PHOTO BY ANIBEL MERCADO

This vessel was designed with a fully automated dredging system and is capable of an all-electric operation, with shore-power connection, making it a true zero-emissions operation. The groundbreaking system in this vessel greatly minimizes turbidity pollution and the necessity to clean-up dig, completing depth targets faster and further reducing carbon footprint of any project.

The project was authorized for construction in the Water Resource and Development Act of 2018 is expected to be completed in October 2024.

Subscribe to the America's Engineers newsletter and never miss out on any of the recent stories about the incredible people, programs, and projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

America's Engineers will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.