The unique barge, designed and built by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, will take dredged material and distribute it evenly, allowing layers of sand to be deposited on the bed of the Elizabeth River to create the foundation footprint for the dyke system.
Virginia Port Authority (VPA) awarded the contract to dredge1.2m cubic yards and build the initial sand lifts required to construct both the south and division cross dykes to the Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. last September. Work is expected to take between four and five months to complete.
The material used is being taken from the Atlantic Ocean channel maintenance dredging, which normally would be deposited on Craney Island. The eastward expansion to create a 600-acre site is the first step in the construction of a fourth state-owned deepwater marine terminal.
“Building the land, so to speak, is the most demanding part of this project,” said Jerry Bridges, VPA’s executive director. “We have to get the site ready so when the demand hits, we can begin ordering cranes and pouring concrete for the terminal, which comparatively, are the easy parts.”
Total cost to complete the site is US$700m, funded through a 50-50 cost-share agreement with the federal government. The projected cost for completion of multi-phase terminal project is US$2.2 bn.