FAQs: Channel Improvement Project

FAQs: Channel Improvement Project

What is the Channel Improvement Project?

The Channel Improvement Project is a large-scale transportation infrastructure project that would deepen the Sabine-Neches Waterway from 40 feet to 48 feet. Because the waterway is of national importance, the project would be sponsored by the federal government and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The waterway had its first “deepening and widening” in 1912, and has been improved three more times, with the last occurring in 1962. Since the last improvement nearly 50 years ago, ship design has evolved tremendously and competition between U.S. ports has increased. The SNND is currently working with the federal government to approve the project.

Deepening the channel would allow larger ships to reach local ports, keeping southeast Texas competitive with other U.S. ports. A competitive waterway would allow the area to maintain current jobs and create new jobs. The project would stimulate economic development and maintain a high quality of life for citizens of Southeast Texas.

What is the SNND’s role?

The SNND is working closely with the Corps of Engineers and the federal government to attain authorization of the project from Congress. As the local sponsor of the waterway, SNND supports the proposed deepening project and the immense economic benefits it would bring to the area. SNND would serve as the source for local matching funds and work daily with the Corps of Engineers during construction to ensure the design meets local industry needs of the deeper channel.

How many jobs will the CIP create?

The Channel Improvement Project is expected to create more than 78,000 new permanent jobs in Jefferson County, in addition to the 128,0000 permanent jobs currently generated by the Sabine-Neches Waterway and associated operations. At maturity, the waterway would be responsible for more than 200,000 jobs in Jefferson County alone!

Click here to see impacts to the state of Texas and the U.S. as a whole.

What types of jobs will the CIP create?

The CIP will create jobs in virtually every field, including retail, transportation, maintenance and repair construction, entertainment, health services and business services.

What is the expected economic impact of the project?

The potential economic benefits to Jefferson County, Southeast Texas and the entire United States include billions of dollars in economic gains, billions of dollars in taxes and tens of thousands of new permanent jobs. Click here to read more.

Where will all the mud (dredge material) go?

The material dredged for the Channel Improvement Project will be placed in the Sabine-Neches Navigation District’s placement areas along the waterway. SNND currently maintains these placement areas for the waterway and has provided them for dredge use for over 100 years.

What is the status of the project?

In July 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed the Chief’s Report on the proposed deepening of the Sabine-Neches Waterway. This concluded a nearly 14-year assessment of the proposed deepening of the Sabine-Neches Waterway from 40 feet to 48 feet. The signing of the Chief’s Report means the Corps of Engineers has deemed the proposed deepening project environmentally sound and economically beneficial. In November 2011, the Assistant Secretary of the Army signed the Chief’s Report, approving transmission of the project to the U.S. Congress for authorization and funding.

In May 2013, the U.S. Senate passed the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) (S.601), which maintains the flow of commerce by improving the nation’s water infrastructure. In October, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) (H.R.3080). The bill authorizes construction of the proposed Sabine-Neches Waterway channel improvement project. Once Congress settles any differences between the House and Senate versions, they will vote to send their final bill to the president, where he is expected to sign it into public law.

How long will the project take?

Once construction begins, the project is expected to take 7-10 years to complete. During that time, thousands of jobs will be created in new construction, retail trade, entertainment, business services, health services and many other areas. Additionally, millions of dollars in expenditures, gross product and personal income will be pumped into the local economy. The CIP is designed so that it can be constructed without interrupting the daily activities of a busy ship channel. Construction will begin offshore and progress inland all the way to Beaumont.