‐‐ The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are improving the main shipping channels in the Port by deepening them to a depth of 50 feet, allowing more efficient access to the world’s largest oceangoing ships.
The Arthur Kill Channel in waters off of eastern Elizabeth, N.J. and north of Shooter's Island is currently being deepened to allow large ships to safely transit the shipping channel and a critical component in providing safe navigation access to the port. This construction is a significant component of the broader effort of the Army Corps’ navigation channel deepening project, crucial for modern‐day container ships fully loaded to navigate safely.
Some areas of the Arthur Kill Channel contain solid rock that needs to be broken into smaller pieces to be dredged from the channel floor. This will require drilling into the rock and using a controlled, safe detonation of explosives placed in the rock underwater. Drilling and underwater blasting operations in the contract area is expected to last one year. Drilling and blasting commenced during the first week in August 2011 north of Shooters Island. Drilling and underwater blasting has occurred on the overall deepening project previously in Newark Bay, N.J. and in the Kill Van Kull, N.Y.
The Army Corps anticipates that drilling and blasting work on this contract will not adversely affect the surrounding communities. The Corps and other involved agencies are performing various monitoring activities during this construction to ensure that the work conforms to all applicable federal, state and local requirements and ordinances.
“While drilling may be performed intermittently, blasting operations will only occur during daylight hours (two hours after sunrise and one hour before sunset). Blasting will not be performed before 9a.m. or after 6 p.m. or on Sundays / Federal Holidays. However if there are concerns or issues related to this work, residents are encouraged to call the hotline number at (201) 339‐6470,” said Bryce Wisemiller, Army Corps’ Project Manager. The Arthur Kill Channel deepening effort is part of a more extensive harbor-dredging project to create safe and efficient channels for a larger class of vessels that will be calling at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The overall Harbor Deepening Project involves dredging nearly 38 miles of shipping channels between New York and New Jersey to bring them to a safe depth of 50 feet. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast, providing more than 269,900 direct and indirect jobs in port related activities. Through the Port’s four major container terminals waterborne cargo moves to all parts of the United States and throughout the world. The 50 foot deepening project is scheduled for completion in 2013.
Release no. 12-012