Broward County's Board of Commissioners is lining up behind plans to expand Port Everglades by increasing berth space at the Florida port’s Southport Turning Notch.
The board also reaffirmed its support for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ study of deepening the ports’ channels to 50 feet from the current 42 feet. The preliminary National Economic Development plan recommendation by the ACOE is to deepen the port's channels.
"This is a two-pronged plan to expand berth capacity and increase operating depths that points to the comprehensive strategy to meet future service demands," said Port Everglades Director Phil Allen.
Allen said the Army Corps' recent findings justify the need for a deeper harbor at Port Everglades to handle the increase of ship traffic that the port expects to result from the construction of new locks at the Panama Canal and from the anticipated growth of the market in South Florida.
Port Everglades’ 20-year master plan includes moving forward with an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to expand the Southport Turning Notch to increase berth capacity and develop additional mangrove habitat, as well as to continue with the Army Corps’ study of deepening its channel.
The Army Corps’ preliminary deepening plan identifies a benefit-to-cost ratio of 2.0, which means that every dollar spent on the project is expected to generate a $2 return on the investment. The current cost estimate for the preliminary deepening plan is $255 million, with $155 million funded through the federal government and the remaining $100 million from the port and other sources.
The Army Corps’ final feasibility report is scheduled to be released in November 2012 with a projected construction start date of January 2015 and completion in 2017.
-- Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.