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If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please e-mail the Corporate Communications Office at CENAB-CC@usace.army.mil, or call 410-202-6509 for further information. 

Announcements

Feb. 9, 2022 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District (USACE) and the nonfederal sponsor, the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA), have prepared a draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine whether improvements to the Baltimore Harbor Anchorages and Channels (BHAC) project would result in improved navigation efficiencies at the Port of Baltimore (Port) to meet demand for future capacity at the Port facilities, including efficient handling of increased container volume at Seagirt Marine Terminal (SMT) and faster and safer movement of vessels transiting the channels. The study area includes 32-square miles of Baltimore Harbor, including the navigable parts of the Patapsco River below Hanover Street, the Northwest and Middle Branches, and Curtis Bay and its tributary, Curtis Creek, as well as the associated Port. 

The purpose of this study is to identify technically feasible, economically justifiable, and environmentally acceptable recommendations for a federal navigation improvement project in Baltimore Harbor.

Baltimore Harbor Anchorages and Channels Project Study Area

 

Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment for BHAC Modification of Seagirt Loop Channel available for Public Review

The draft integrated Feasibility Report and EA will be made available to the public for a 30-day review and comment period beginning on February 9, 2022. Comments need to be received on or before March 11, 2022, to be considered. The Sollers Point Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library will hold a hard copy at the front desk and make it available to the public upon request. Comments can be submitted electronically to: CENAB-CC@usace.army.mil 

'Click' the below to view: 

Public Meeting: USACE and MDOT MPA will hold a virtual public meeting on Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm to present the report and receive comments. Register in advance for this meeting at the hyperlink below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Register at this link: https://moffattnichol.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUocuCqrTIpGNxhBtfcqQZOnJPChveSyfqy

Tentatively Selected Plan - Deepening and Widening of the West Seagirt Branch Channel 

Baltimore Harbor Anchorages and Channels Modification of Seagirt Loop Channels, Maryland Feasibility Study

The study conducted pursuant to this authority resulted in a Chief’s Report dated June 8, 1998, and in project authority in §101(a)(22) of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 1999 (Pub. L. No. 106-53). As discussed in the Chief of Engineer’s Report, the project included improvements to access channels serving the public terminals of Dundalk, Seagirt, and South Locust Point. The federal government assumed maintenance of these channels at their authorized depth. Note that §101(a)(22)(i) mentions deepening an access channel to the Dundalk Marine Terminal to 50 feet that was not accomplished. 

The USACE Baltimore District and MDOT MPA will conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the advisability of modifications to the Seagirt Loop channels, which include the West Dundalk Branch Channel, the Dundalk-Seagirt Connecting Channel, and the Seagirt West Branch Channel, to accommodate the increased post-Panamax vessel traffic at the Seagirt Marine Terminal. The feasibility cost-sharing agreement (FCSA) between USACE and MDOT MPA was executed on September 22, 2020. The agreement between USACE and MDOT MPA formally begins a study of improvements to the Seagirt Loop channels. The feasibility study will comply with the USACE SMART Planning Milestones for a 3x3 study (policy requirement to complete the study in three years for less than $3 million). The study will be conducted in four segments:

  • Segment 1: Scoping and Alternatives Analyses
  • Segment 2: Tentatively Selected Plan
  • Segment 3: Agency Decision and Draft Report
  • Segment 4: Detailed designs and final Report Preparation

Study Purpose and Goals

Since completion of the Baltimore Harbor Anchorages and Channels (BHAC) Study (1998), which resulted in the construction of significant navigation improvements to Baltimore Harbor anchorages and access channels, the future with project conditions projected in the study have significantly changed as a result of worldwide fleet shifts towards these larger container vessels.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Maryland Port Administration (MPA), a division of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), are conducting a feasibility study to determine the advisability of modifications to the BHAC, including for the Seagirt Loop channels that serve the Seagirt Marine Terminal, the destination for a majority of container traffic in the Port. The objective of the study is to identify one or more solutions that can safely accommodate the projected increase in post-Panamax vessels calling at the Port.  

The overall goal of the study is to affirm, reformulate, or modify the BHAC authority by recommending actions that meet the changed current and future conditions at Baltimore Harbor and the Port facilities. The study objectives are to develop solutions that:  

  • Decrease transportation delays to vessels calling at the Port.
  • Improve navigability and increase safety for vessels using the Seagirt Loop channels. 
  • Meet current and forecasted future capacity needs for container traffic at the Port.

Frequently Asked Questions

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We are committed to remaining transparent with stakeholders and the public throughout the study process, and we are working closely with federal and regional experts. Stakeholder and public participation is key to ensuring we have the best information possible and will help guide our approach.

The draft integrated Feasibility Report and EA will be made available to the public for a 30-day review and comment period beginning on February 9, 2022. Comments need to be received on or before March 11, 2022, to be considered. The draft integrated Feasibility Report and EA are available on this webpage. The Sollers Point Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library will hold a hard copy at the front desk and make it available to the public upon request. Comments can be submitted electronically to: CENAB-CC@usace.army.mil

This $3 million study is split evenly between the Army Corps through Congressional funding and the Maryland Port Administration, the non-federal sponsor.

The study will consider past, current, and future navigation improvement initiatives and projects by the USACE and other federal, state, and local agencies.  Two overarching efforts will be performed:

  1. Assess the study area’s problems, opportunities, and future-without project conditions
  2. Assess the feasibility of implementing modifications to the existing BHAC project.

The study will address these two efforts using a SMART planning approach.  The first phase (scoping and alternatives analysis) will assess the viability of navigation improvements with rough order of magnitude costs and benefits.  At the conclusion of the scoping phase and alternatives analysis the study may proceed with a detailed feasibility investigation for a solution to the navigation problem.  Through the SMART planning process, USACE will incorporate refined data sets and/or site-specific analyses.

The USACE Baltimore District will conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the advisability of modifications to the Seagirt Loop channels, which include the West Dundalk Branch Channel, the Dundalk-Seagirt Connecting Channel, and the Seagirt West Branch Channel, to accommodate the increased post-Panamax vessel traffic at Seagirt Marine Terminal. The overall goal of the study is to affirm, reformulate, or modify the Baltimore Harbor Anchorages and Channels study authority by recommending actions that meet the changed current and future conditions at Baltimore Harbor and the Port facilities. The study objectives are to develop solutions that:

  • Decrease transportation delays to vessels calling at the Port.
  • Improve navigability and increase safety for vessels using the Seagirt Loop channels.
  • Meet current and forecasted future capacity needs for container traffic at the Port.

To promote safe and efficient navigation in the Seagirt Loop channels. Post-Panamax container vessels make regular calls to the Port. Inefficiencies in transit, due to insufficient channel width at turns, are evident as vessels transiting to or from Seagirt berths 1-3 must proceed with great caution to avoid collisions or allusions (the running of one ship into a stationary ship) while berth 4 is occupied with a large vessel.  Berth 4 can accommodate new-Panamax container ships (draft to 50 feet and 22 container width) and improvements to Berth 3, expected to be completed in 2021, will also accommodate similar sized vessels. Furthermore, vessels with a draft in excess of 42 feet must be backed out of the berthing areas, or turned.

USACE and MDOT MPA will hold a virtual public meeting on Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm to present the report and receive comments.

Register in advance for this meeting at the hyperlink below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Register at this link: https://moffattnichol.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUocuCqrTIpGNxhBtfcqQZOnJPChveSyfqy