Congress OKs ship channel project, provides no funds
Both the U.S. Senate and the House have overridden President Bush's veto of the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, which includes provision for widening and deepening the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, but don't look for dredges in the channel next week.
The act authorizes the project but provides no funding for it. That means the Port of Corpus Christi Authority, the agency that operates the port and the ship channel, must next go to Congress and ask that the project be financed.
Frank Brogan, the port's director of engineering, said the Corpus Christi project actually includes four parts: deepening the channel from its current depth of 45 feet to 52 feet; widening it from 500 feet to 530 feet; extending the La Quinta Channel to the port's proposed new container area near Ingleside; and dredging a separate channel on each side of the ship channel for barges to use.
"As it is, barges and ships have to use the same channel," Brogan explained. "By dredging a separate channel on each side, we'd eliminate that problem. And since the barge channels wouldn't be as deep as the ship channel, the large ships would run aground before they ever got close to a barge."
Brogan said it's a relatively cheap and easy solution to the mixed use of the ship channel.