Amid the hustle and bustle of summertime fishing rodeos and family vacations, not to mention the daily traffic of workers and supplies going in and out of Port Fourchon, one recent addition quietly slipped into port and began some ground-breaking work. Literally.
The dredging contractor for the Greater Lafourche Port Commission's Northern Expansion Slip D Bucket Dredge project has begun excavating a new channel in Port Fourchon's expansion area, creating the new Slip D. The Slip D development is the latest phase of the port's Northern Expansion, adding 300 acres of developed property to the port and creating over 10,000 linear feet of waterfront in Port Fourchon. The port's newest slip will be 1,000 feet wide and nearly 4,000 feet long, a departure from the dimensions of Slips B and C (700 feet wide and 7,000 feet long) in response to the needs of the offshore supply vessels who frequent Port Fourchon.
"We look to the future when designing the footprint of any new port development project," said Port Director Chett Chiasson. "Our tenants envision bringing larger vessels into port waterways into the future, so Slip D is growing in width to accommodate longer, wider vessels and the turning radius a larger vessel may need."
Nearly 4 million cubic yards of material will be dredged to create 150 acres of developed property adjacent to the waterfront along Slip D as well as 65 acres of new marsh. Two miles of steel bulkhead will be constructed along the newly created Slip D waterfront, and one mile of new roadway will be constructed for land access to Slip D leases.
A fully developed Slip D is estimated to take six to eight years to construct, but months before a teaspoon of soil was ever moved, the Port Commission already had received offers on Slip D. Currently, a "right of first refusal" is in place on a section of the new slip's as yet undeveloped property.
Port Commission Board President Perry Gisclair, commenting upon the port's aggressive expansion, said, "As a steward of the public, the Port Commission continues to invest in creating and maintaining our port infrastructure, and it is gratifying to see our hard work come to fruition and be so well-received by companies that do business in Port Fourchon."
In total, the development of Slip D, including design work, dredging, road and basic infrastructure work, and bulkhead installation, is estimated at $100 million. Partners in the Slip D project include Crosby Dredging, contractor for the current bucket dredging project, and Picciola and Associates, the project's design and engineering firm.
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