Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements

Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published April 30, 2018
Updated: Nov. 22, 2021

Project Scope: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Port Authority completed an integrated General Reevaluation Report and Environmental Assessment (GRR) on June 29, 2018, which recommended the Norfolk Harbor Navigation Channels be widened and deepened to accomodate larger and deeper ships making port calls in Hampton Roads. The Norfolk Harbor and Channels Federal Navigation project consists of a network of federally-improved channels extending from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Chesapeake Bay, and into the Port of Hampton Roads.

Norfolk Harbor and Channel-Elizabeth River Southern Branch Dredging Map
SLIDESHOW | 3 images | Norfolk Harbor and Channel-Elizabeth River Southern Branch Dredging Map
The GRR allows for reformulation of the originally authorized plan for the Norfolk Harbor Navigation Improvements project, as appropriate, to develop a new alternative for implementation. The study evaluated a range of channel dimensions, including deepening and widening. 

An Army Corps of Engineers Chief's Report was delivered to Congress for consideration and potential inclusion in the next Water Resources Development Act on July 2, 2018.

Authorization: Section 201 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-662) authorized the construction of the Norfolk Harbor and Channels, Virginia, Project, as described in House Document 99-85, dated 18 July 1985, entitled “Norfolk Harbor and Channels, Virginia.”

Project Sponsor: The USACE is the lead federal agency for this study and the Commonwealth of Virginia, acting through its Agent, the Virginia Port Authority, is the non-federal sponsor for the study.

Project Study Area: Norfolk Harbor (sometimes referred to as the Port of Hampton Roads) is located in the southeastern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia at the southern end of Chesapeake Bay, midway on the Atlantic Seaboard (approximately 170 miles south of Baltimore, Maryland, and 220 miles north of Wilmington, North Carolina). The harbor is formed by the confluence of the James, Nansemond, and Elizabeth rivers. The land area surrounding the harbor encompasses approximately 1,500 square miles and includes the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach, as well as Hampton and Newport News on the north side and Isle of Wight County on the south side.

Project News

Media Advisory: Atlantic Ocean Channel Phase II Groundbreaking Ceremony
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District, Port of Virginia and the City of Virginia Beach will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the commencement of the Atlantic Ocean Channel Phase II on...
Norfolk Harbor deepening project advances with critical contract award
On the heels of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law earlier this year, the Norfolk Harbor and Channels Improvement Project’s federal sponsor, Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, announced...
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Visits Norfolk Harbor
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the Honorable R.D. James, traveled to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District on May 9 to meet with Virginia Port Authority leaders...