Savannah Harbor Expansion, GA

PROJECT NAME AND STATE:  Savannah Harbor Expansion, GA 

AUTHORIZATION:  WRDA 1999, Sec. 102 (P.L. 106-53); WRRDA 2014, Sec. 7002 (P.L. 113-121); WRDA 2018, Sec. 1401 (P.L. 115-270)   




Estimated Federal Cost



Estimated Non-Federal Cost



Total Estimated Cost




Allocation thru FY 2018



Allocation for FY 2019



President's Budget for FY 2020



Programmed Balance to Complete After FY 2020   $277,600,000


LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION:  Deep Draft Navigation.  The currently authorized Savannah Harbor deep-draft navigation project is a 42-foot deep, 32.7 mile long shipping channel on the Savannah River, which forms the border between Georgia and South Carolina.  The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project will deepen the existing -42 feet mean lower low water (MLLW) project to -47 feet MLLW.  The project was conditionally authorized in WRDA 99 stipulating that no construction can occur until approved by the Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of the Interior and the Administrator of EPA.  Those approvals were obtained July 11, 2012.  A Construction Project Partnership Agreement was executed 8 October 2014 which allowed the non-Federal Sponsors (the Georgia Ports Authority and the Georgia Department of Transportation) to provide their funds, up to the current estimate of the non-Federal Sponsors' share, for the initiation of construction.

ACTIVITIES FOR FY2019FY2019 funds are being used to continue the CSS Georgia conservation, Dissolved Oxygen Injection System; McCoy’s Cut Area work; award the first Inner Harbor Dredging contract; prepare plans and specifications for out-year project features; continue environmental monitoring.

ACTIVITIES FOR FY2020:  FY2020 funds will be used to award the second Inner Harbor dredging and Sediment Basin Rock Weir & Fill contracts; prepare plans and specifications for out-year project features; continue environmental monitoring.   

ISSUES AND OTHER INFORMATION:  The Total Project First Cost is estimated at $1.019B at FY 2019 levels with construction to be cost shared 75% Federal and 25% non-Federal before the 10% General Navigation Feature payback, providing annual net benefits of $282M, a benefit-to-cost ratio of 7.3 to 1, and a $6M increase in annual Savannah Harbor Operations and Maintenance costs.  When costs were estimated and the project approved by the Department of Interior, Department of Commerce, and US Environmental Protection Agency, the project assumed a construction period of five years based on optimal funding at approximately $100M/year in Federal construction funds.  SHEP was funded to capability in FY2018 and FY2019.  The sponsor funding and credit to date totals $270M with $221M in cash contributions being provided thru March 2016.  The sponsors have provided nearly all of their estimated share of the Total Project Cost Escalated to the Mid-Point of Construction, $221M to date.  Federal funding at lower levels in future years will increase costs and lengthen the construction period.  The most significant challenge for SHEP is to execute the complex sequenced construction as efficiently as funding allows and to avoid delays of $282M in net annual benefits to the Nation.   

As the size and frequency of container vessels increases, so do transportation inefficiencies, vessels waiting on the tide and light loading, unless the Savannah Harbor channel is deepened. The Port of Savannah is the fourth busiest container terminal in the nation, the second largest container port on the East Coast, the second busiest harbor for American export tonnage, the largest single container port in North America, and the fastest growing container port in the nation over the last 10 years. 

ADMINISTRATION POSITIONThis project is consistent with Administration policy. SHEP was included in the President’s July 2012 “We Can’t Wait” initiative as one of five port improvement projects that should be fast tracked as the project supports the Administration’s priorities of job creation and infrastructure improvement.


Award Entrance Channel Dredging Contract           04 March 2015 (A) 
Award Dissolved Oxygen Injection System Contract           31 July 2015 (A) 
Award Raw Water Storage Impoundment Contract           11 December 2015 (A)
Award 14A Dike Raising Contract             08 April 2016 (A)
Award Sediment Basin Area Work (Package #1)           15 September 2016 (A)
Award McCoy's Cut Area Work           6 July 2018 (A)
Award Inner Harbor Dredging Contract #1           19 August 2019
Award Inner Harbor Dredging Contract #2           2 October 2019


ACTION OFFICER:  Margarett (Mackie) McIntosh                           11 June 2019