USACE Completes Iliuliuk Dredging Feasibility Study

Dec 18, 2018

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed removing a bar at the entrance channel of Unalaska's Iliuliuk Bay. Planners recommend dredging to a depth of 58 feet and allowing for a two-foot margin of error to 60 feet.
Credit Berett Wilber/KUCB

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.