Gov. McMaster to update Charleston Harbor deepening project

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The deepening of the Charleston Harbor is inching closer toward becoming a reality.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster will visit the Lowcountry on Monday to speak on the project.

The harbor currently sits at a maintained depth of 45 feet at mean low tide in the main shipping channel and 47 feet in the entrance channel. The project hopes to grow those numbers to 52 feet and 54 feet respectively according to the South Carolina Ports Authority.

The project would make Charleston Harbor the deepest on the East coast, the SCPA says. The "construction phase" of the project officially began in July when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a legally binding agreement with the SCPA to finalize responsibilities on the project.

The Corps anticipates the project to take anywhere from 40 to 76 months and cost approximately $529 million according a release.

"We've advertised the first and second contracts for the dredging of the entrance channel, which is where construction will begin," said project manager Holly Carpenter in a July release. "We are planning to award both contracts sometime this fall, depending on funding and acceptable bids from industry."

McMaster's address is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at the Gaillard Center Performance Hall on Calhoun Street.