Last week, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works announced the work plans for two recently enacted laws — the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act; and the 2022 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act– which will provide the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with an additional $328 million for fiscal year 2022.
The Biden Administration’s $22.81 billion in supplemental funding provided to the Corps of Engineers by the two laws is allocated to support the country’s civil works studies, projects and programs.
According to Army officials, the support expands access to America’s ports through dredging, as well as building resilience in the face of global climate change, while benefitting economically disadvantaged communities and regions, and advancing environmental justice.
For the Norfolk District, the spend plan will be used for operation and maintenance work, new-start construction projects and support for continuing authority programs. Work plans for coastal projects will see most of the funds; of which, City of Norfolk will see the largest portion –$249 million for Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management and $69 million for the Norfolk Harbor Deepening project.
“The funds and work plans are great news because, in the end, it’s all about people—the partners and stakeholders we’re working with, as well as the communities benefitting from that work,” said Norfolk District Commander Col. Brian Hallberg.
Resilient Against Coastal Storms
Norfolk CSRM is the result of the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study which identified the city of Norfolk as one of nine areas on the Atlantic Coast warranting investigation into coastal storm risk-management solutions after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
In 2019, the Norfolk District and city manager signed a design agreement clearing a path for the Army and Norfolk to share costs in funding and developing full designs for the first construction feature. Its execution allowed start of the Preconstruction Engineering and Design, or PED, phase.
Now, funds are allocated to complete plans and specifications, as well as initiate construction of the project.
“Having the federal share on hand now allows us to plan more efficiently for the first contract, and go seamlessly from design to construction,” said Deputy District Engineer Mike Darrow.
“We’ll continue the design of the Norfolk CSRM – first phase from Town Point Park to Harbor Park,” he said of the city-district efforts. “But the $249 million construction-contract won’t be addressed until late fiscal year 2023 or early fiscal year 2024.”[HMWCUC(1]
“Wider, Deeper, Safer”
The Norfolk Harbor Channel Deepening Project will see $69 million added to the already budgeted $83.7 million.
Branded “Wider, Deeper, Safer,” the district has worked closely with the Virginia Port Authority, and with Naval Station Norfolk to move the dredging project along.
This project will make transit in and out of the Port of Virginia safer for some of the largest ships in the Atlantic Ocean. Deeper channels mean larger ships and larger ships mean lower transportation costs, the savings of which are passed on to the general population as lower commodity costs.
A 2019 article released by the office of Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) states the Port of Virginia receives on average about four ultra-large container vessels per week, mostly over 1,000 feet in length. The upcoming expansion will reduce the vessel delays that are caused by these ultra-large ships.
“We’ll award [the contract for] the channel to Newport News this summer, soon followed by work in the Norfolk Inner Harbor with the money received for the deepening,” said Darrow.
Additional work plans allotted funds
Additional Norfolk District projects that received funding include:
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE WORK PLAN
Lynnhaven Inlet, dredging and surveys, $2.6 million
Milford Haven, jetty maintenance including surveys, plans, and specs, $5.7 million
Gathright Dam, repairs to the intake tower. $3.5 million
CONTINUING AUTHORITIES PROGRAM WORK PLAN
Hampton Roads, beneficial use (Section 204), continuing the feasibility study, $300 thousand
Indian Run (Section 14), completing PED and initiating construction $120 thousand
“As an organization, we’re a diverse and agile team of dedicated professionals serving to build and protect our Nation,” said Hallberg. “I’m looking forward to see our employees’ work improve local and national infrastructure in 2022.”
More information on Norfolk District projects can be found here