Posted on September 11, 2023
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD), Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), and the Port of Terrebonne signed a partnering agreement to begin efforts to advance the Houma Navigation Canal (HNC) Deepening project. The total construction cost is $253,458,000.
U.S. Army Corps Mississippi Valley Division Commander, Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples said “the Houma Navigation Canal is the lifeline of Terrebonne Parish, serving as the interstate to the Gulf of Mexico. The ability of the Houma Navigation Canal, the Port of Terrebonne, along with other Louisiana ports to operate efficiently and safely is vital to the region and the nation’s economy and national security.”
Col. Cullen Jones, New Orleans District Commander said “USACE is excited for the opportunity to partner with DOTD as well as the Port of Terrebonne to advance this critical navigation effort to deepen the Houma Navigation Channel from 15’ to 20’. The Port of Terrebonne provides both a regional and national value to the nation, and we appreciate the Port’s work in leaning forward to perform the needed relocations for the project. It is our hope that these efforts will help derive a more economical project that will compete well to receive Federal dollars to advance this critical effort.”
The Houma Navigation Canal is approximately 36.7 miles long and connects the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to the Gulf of Mexico. The Recommended Plan consists of deepening the HNC channel to -20 feet to allow for more efficient navigation for large vessels and reduce current waterborne transportation costs.
“The Houma Navigation Canal, and the critical industries that depend on it, continues to support not only our nation’s offshore energy exploration and production, but the shipbuilding vital to our national defense. Today’s signing marks an important step forward to deepen the Houma Navigation Canal, increasing the canal’s ability to strengthen America’s national and energy security” said U.S. Majority Leader Steve Scalise.
Congressman Garret Graves stated “Louisiana fuels and feeds the world through our ports and waterways. Today’s agreement is the culmination of years of our work to authorize a deeper channel for the HNC and provide direct congressional funding to kick off the project. As boats continue trending toward larger and deeper-draft vessels, this deepening project helps to ensure the competitiveness of some of Louisiana’s most important shipbuilding, vessel repair and offshore service workforce. A big thanks to the Port of Terrebonne, the Corps, and all our local stakeholders for their years of relentless advocacy on this important project.”
Today, officials from the Army Corps of Engineers, and the non-federal sponsors (DOTD and the Port of Terrebonne) will execute a cost-share agreement to deepen the canal. Simultaneously, officials from the Corps, DOTD and CPRA will execute an In-Kind Credit Memorandum of Understanding for work associated with constructing the HNC Lock Sill to deepen it from -18’ to -23’. Local and state partners will relocate several utility lines in preparation for the deepening.
Chris Collins, Director of Waterways for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said “the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development celebrates the next step of this important regional economic development project. It is because of the partnership between DOTD, the Port of Terrebonne and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District that we are celebrating another milestone.”
“We are pleased to join the Corps and DOTD today to continue our collaborative partnership and move one step closer to the completion of the Houma Navigation Canal Lock Complex,” said CPRA Chairman Bren Haase. “Once completed, the Complex will be a key component of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System and will rebuild ecosystems, reduce land loss, and improve navigation along the Houma Navigation Canal in Terrebonne Parish.”
The purpose of executing the Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement is to prepare a Letter Report to address the four outstanding comments from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. The project will then be contingently approved by Congress under Section 403 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA 2020) once the Letter Report is complete. The report will be conducted by USACE over the next 12-14 months at a cost of $700,000.
“The HNC is the catalyst to Terrebonne’s economy. The port has been working on getting the channel deepened by 5 feet for over 20 years. The execution of this cost share agreement between the Corps and DOTD brings us another step closer to a deeper channel and sustaining Terrebonne’s economic growth for the next generation” said Terrebonne Port Commission Executive Director David Rabalais.
Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove added “the HNC serves as the interstate to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a lifeline for the marine oil and gas industry. I’m thankful to our partners on the state and federal levels for their commitment to deepening the HNC so that Terrebonne Parish and South Louisiana’s maritime industry can compete globally for decades to come.”