Then-New Orleans Engineer District Commander Col. Stephen Murphy met with Plaquemines Parish President Kirk Lepine and Plaquemines Port Director Sandy Sanders on September 12 to sign the project partnership agreement for the deepening of Baptiste Collette, an east-facing outlet of the Mississippi River. Plaquemines Parish is the local non-federal sponsor, although the federal government will shoulder all the design and construction costs.
With the signing ceremony, the project, which will deepen the 9.4-mile pass from 14 feet to 22 feet and the outer approach from 16 feet to 24 feet, now moves to the planning, engineering and design phase. The total cost of the project is estimated to be just under $45 million. According to the Corps, the project will benefit navigation related to oil fields, drilling rigs and production platforms in the eastern Gulf of Mexico; reduce traffic and improve safety in Southwest Pass; and promote the beneficial use of dredge material.
“I inherited this project when I came aboard nine years ago and immediately saw the benefits it brings to maritime, particularly the energy and fishing industries in the southern part of the parish,” Sanders said. “I want to thank everyone who worked together to get us to this day, including the Corps, private consultants, parish government and the Plaquemines business community.”
The signing ceremony drew a wide range of elected officials, current and former port leaders and business leaders from the parish. Pictured above are (left to right) George Pivach, a member of the Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry (PABI); Sanders; Lepine; Murphy; PABI member Danica Ansardi; PABI member Dale Benoit; and Paul Matthews, CEO of the Port of South Louisiana and former deputy director of the Port of Plaquemines.