By Maddie Heid for Island Eye News
Since 1871, the Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston has been improving the harbor. In their latest project, Post 45 aims to solve one of Charleston’s most significant port problems: being able to get larger ships in.
Larger trading ships usually need to go about 60 feet underwater. In comparison, Charleston’s original port only goes 45 feet deep, meaning if the larger ships try to come into the harbor, they will be run into the ground.
This project’s essence is to deepen and widen the Charleston Harbor to 52 feet, allowing those larger ships to finally come into the port.
As simple as this sounds, this project has taken over 12 years.
From getting the project environmentally approved to working out where the material will end up, it’s been an allhands-on-deck project and will hopefully finish up sometime next year.
But how does it work? The Charleston Harbor construction started in March 2018 and is a 40-76 month project depending on several factors. The construction involves having a large crane go down
and pick up material from the bottom and drop it onto the barge. Once the barge is complete, another one comes and takes its place. This process repeats itself over and over again 24/7.
The construction involves having workers live out on the boat for 30 days and operate the machinery all hours of the day.
Material is taken to an offshore disposal site approved by the Army Core and a panel of environmentalists early in the project. By the time the post finishes, the amount of material predicted to be removed will be enough to fill 12,000 Olympic pools. Port 45 is the most expensive project since the Ravenel Bridge building, which costs 630 million dollars.
Although the costs are around the same, Post 45 doesn’t get the same recognition because people see the Ravenel bridge
every day. Still, people cannot see the dredging because it’s all happening underwater.
Even though people can’t see it, completing this project will ultimately benefit the people of Charleston. It will eventually lead to lower costs on items, increase jobs needed at the port, and overall an economic increase for South Carolina.