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USACE Completes Iliuliuk Dredging Feasibility Study

Berett Wilber
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says funding for the dredging project could become available as soon as the end of the year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented their complete feasibility study last week for a dredging project in Iliuliuk Bay.

The proposal would remove a dense 16-foot shoal and make it easier for deeper draft vessels to maneuver through the bay's entrance.

Ports Director Peggy McLaughlin says having the channel at a deeper depth of 58 feet could be good for Unalaska.

"It opens the doors for a lot of economic diversity in the future," McLaughlin said. "But right now what we are really looking at is tankers and container ships."

The next step is the design process and then construction.

"We are now kind of in the process and the gears are moving," McLaughlin said. "I don't have a definitive timeline for how long it takes to get from the feasibility milestone to the design process and what the timeline is for the design process."

McLaughlin says every step will appear in front of the Unalaska City Council for approval.

So far, the council unanimously endorsed the corps dredging recommendation earlier this month.

Construction would begin in 2021 at the earliest.

Zoë Sobel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2019. She returned to KUCB after a year living in Nepal and Malaysia as a Luce Scholar. She then returned to KUCB as a ProPublica reporter August of 2020 through August of 2021.
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