Senior leaders of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Port of Long Beach held a ceremony Oct. 8 to announce the start of a $37.5 million small business stimulus contract to increase the efficiency of the nation's largest and busiest port complex and provide jobs during and after construction.

"Continuing the work on this project is critical, so larger ships can safely navigate within the federal channels," said Col. Thomas Magness, Los Angeles District commander. "The stimulus funds allow us to meet the port's requirements and provide much-needed jobs in today's economy."

Joining Magness at the ceremony was Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"It's great to be back home," said Van Antwerp, who had served as the Los Angeles District commander. "We used to live at Fort MacArthur overlooking the Long Beach/Los Angeles harbor. Our heart is here with you. It's always good to award a contract, especially one with the partnerships we have here."

Van Antwerp said the Corps maintains 982 ports nationwide, "none busier than the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles."

Mr. Richard Steinke, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, said the completed contract will allow the port to answer the competitive challenge it faces from other ports.

"With increased efficiency and improved port facilities, we can safely accommodate the newer, bigger oil tankers fully loaded," Steinke said. A turning basin will be deepened to 76 feet, the same depth as the main channel. Large tankers no longer will need to unload part of their oil outside the breakwater to safely reach berth.

In addition, Steinke said the project demonstrated a collaborative nature and a true partnership that would create several hundred new jobs.

The project includes work in several areas throughout the port complex.

Deepening the Main Channel and Turning Basins is the federal portion of the project and involves dredging about 650,000 cubic yards of material. This $9.6 million portion, cost-shared 50-50 by the federal government and the port, will complete improvements to the Authorized Federal Navigation Channel.

The part identified as the West Basin Installation Remediation Site 7 Cleanup requires dredging about 660,000 cubic yards of material, demolishing and disposing of a dilapidated timber and concrete pier, and lifting and placing on land four sunken barges for disposal under a future construction contract. The cost for this portion is $11.5 million.

Deepening Catalina Landing will cost $782,000 to dredge about 37,000 cubic yards of material that has migrated into the ferry landing adjacent to the Los Angeles River Estuary.

The Western Anchorage Temporary Sediment Storage Site, to cost about $2.3 million, will dredge about 150,000 cubic yards of clean material. The port will use the material to fill in a portion of the Pier G slip.

The port will expand pier facilities at the north section of Pier G by removing bottom material, constructing a rock closure dike, installing sheet pile cutoff walls, constructing storm drainage and other site improvements, and performing water quality monitoring during placement of dredge material in the slip. The cost for this portion is $15.7 million.

The contractor, Manson Construction Company, will employ about 105 full-time workers directly related to the project. Economists estimate the project will provide an additional 518 jobs in industries supplying or supporting the construction, performing operations and maintenance activities, and selling goods and services to the workers and their families.

The project is funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or "stimulus package." The Act appropriates $184 million to the Los Angeles District to complete construction work, conduct operations and maintenance and continue studies for two dozen projects throughout Southern California, southern Nevada and Arizona.

The federal government's share includes $2.5 million in stimulus funds and $2.3 million in general construction funds. The Port of Long Beach will provide $4.8 million for main channel deepening and turning basins and $28.9 million for the remaining portions of the project.