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$500M deepening of Charleston shipping channel moving quickly, cost estimates could drop

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CHARLESTON, South Carolina — The planned half-billion dollar deepening of the Charleston Harbor shipping channel has passed another milestone and the cost of the project may prove to be lower than first projected.

Last week, the deepening plan was approved by a panel of top officials of the Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, and final Corps approval is expected by early fall.

Deepening the harbor is needed so the Charleston can handle a new generation of larger container ships. The price tag now is an estimated $509 million. But if upcoming studies show the channel doesn't need to be as wide as now planned, that price tag could drop.

With environmental studies complete, the construction plan for the deepening the channel is expected to take 18 months to two years to complete.

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