By BRUCE SMITH
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed the field studies needed for the $350 million deepening of the Charleston Harbor shipping channel. The data will now be analyzed so the federal agency can issue a draft environmental impact statement on the project next year.
The final studies were completed during the last two weeks when samples were taken of the harbor bottom.
Project manager Brian Williams said Friday those samples were taken as far as 15 miles offshore. The hardest material found was a consolidation of sand, shells and sediment. He says that indicates no blasting will likely be needed.
Maritime interests want the channel deepened to 50 feet to handle larger container ships that will call when the widened Panama Canal opens in 2015.