2.5 million cubic yards of material to be dredged from Chesapeake Bay shipping channel

About 2.5 million cubic yards of mud, silt, sand and other material will be dredged from the Cape Henry Channel at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay near Norfolk, Va. — an approach that’s used by shipping lines to reach the port of Baltimore — according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Great Locks Dredge and Dock, based in Oak Brook, Ill., was awarded a $14.5 million contract to dredge the channel to a depth of 51 feet, plus another foot of “overdepth” — an allowance to account for unanticipated variations in the bottom surface.

The project, which will conclude by the fall, is part of regular maintenance to allow the port of Baltimore to continue to accommodate massive vessels carrying cars, containers and other cargo.

The deep channels are “vital” to the Maryland economy, said Col. Ed Chamberlayne, Baltimore District Commander for the Corps of Engineers, which oversees the dredging.

"Maintaining the shipping channels associated with Baltimore Harbor is extremely important economically to not only the City of Baltimore but also the State of Maryland and neighboring states throughout the region including Virginia," Chamberlayne said in a statement.

The dredged material is being placed at the nearby Dam Neck Ocean Dredge Material Disposal Site.

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