Posted on December 18, 2023
ERIE, Pa. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District awarded a $682,000 contract to Michigan-based Ryba Marine Construction Co. on Dec. 6 to conduct dredging of the federal navigation channel in Erie Harbor.
Dredging of harbors like Erie’s ensures accessible depths for large vessels, the continued flow of commodities across the Great Lakes, and the economic viability of United States waterways.
“Maintaining the operation of ports like Erie is a core part of our mission and essential to the economic strength of the nation,” said Lt. Col. Colby Krug, commander of the Buffalo District. “We’re proud of our partnerships with the City of Erie, the state of Pennsylvania, and our representatives in Congress that have made this contract award possible, and we look forward to getting dredging underway.”
“Lake Erie is a natural and economic treasure that serves as an integral part of Erie’s identity. Through this work, we are supporting the use of the nation’s waterways and ports to strengthen supply chains, grow businesses, and improve the infrastructure of Lake Erie and our surrounding areas,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-16). “Thank you to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for recognizing the importance of maintaining these resources.”
Dredging will be focused in the lake approach channel and areas between the entrance piers. Work is scheduled to take place from mid-June through July 2024.
A total of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of material is contracted to be mechanically dredged and placed in an authorized open lake placement area.
Dredging of Erie Harbor is now scheduled to be conducted by USACE every three to four years, based on availability of funding.
Erie Harbor is a deep draft commercial harbor which handled 787,000 tons of cargo, including limestone (52%), sand & gravel (30%) and salt (17%) in 2021. Waterborne transportation facilitated by the harbor supports $29.3 million in business revenue, 139 direct, indirect, and induced jobs, and $9.4 million in labor income to the national transportation sector.
Operation, maintenance and dredging of harbors like Erie by USACE is critical to the economy of Pennsylvania, the Great Lakes region, and the United States.