Waukegan Harbor Feasibility Study

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Section 107 of the River and Harbor Act of 1960 (P.L. 86-645), as amended, authorizes the Secretary of the Army, through the Chief of Engineers, to plan and construct small navigation improvement projects that have not already been specifically authorized by Congress (33 USC 577).

Local Sponsors:   

Illinois Department of Natural Resources, City of Waukegan, Illinois and Waukegan Port District


Study Background:

  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the City of Waukegan and the Waukegan Port District have entered into a partnership to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate a range of alternatives for improving the reliability of Waukegan Harbor for commercial navigation.

  Waukegan Harbor is one of 60 deep-draft commercial harbors that are part of the Great Lakes navigation system. Initial federal investment for navigation improvements at Waukegan Harbor began in 1852. Construction of most of the current harbor structures began in 1902 and was completed by the late 1960s and early 1970s.

  Since 1977, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dredged the harbor’s approach channel to maintain sufficient depths for navigation. Since 2009, there has been a marked increase in the amount of sediment being deposited into the harbor’s approach channel and the outer harbor following coastal storms. This accumulation of sediment, known as shoaling, has caused intermittent closures to commercial navigation, resulting in a decrease in harbor use by local industries. Major commodities received at Waukegan Harbor include gypsum, cement, sand, and gravel.

  The purpose of this Feasibility Study under Continuing Authorities Program (CAP) Section 107 is to investigate structural or operational modifications to Waukegan Harbor to address a recent increase in the incoming sediment load to the Federal channel which has led to a significant increase in shoaling. In the absence of a navigation improvement project at Waukegan Harbor, future shoaling is expected to occur at a much faster rate than historically experienced, necessitating increasing yearly dredging operations and additional funds to maintain the Federal channel.

  The Federal Interest Determination (FID) Report was approved by USACE Headquarters in March of 2016. A Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement (FCSA) with the non-Federal Sponsors was executed in September of 2017.



   The estimated study cost is $700,000, to be shared 50/50 between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the three non-Federal partners.  

Total Feasibility Study Cost: $ 700,000

Federal Cost: $ 400,000 (first $100,000 for determination of federal interest, completed in 2016)

Non-Federal Cost: $ 300,000

Current Status:

  Completion of the necessary coastal modeling and analysis, economic analysis, preliminary design and cost evaluation of the alternatives, and development of the feasibility study report is expected to take about two years.

Project Manager

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 Monica Ott

Study Area Map