A delegation from Georgia was in Panama Sunday to mark the opening of the new expansion of the Panama Canal. It will allow larger cargo ships to pass from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is getting Georgia's ports ready to receive those ships. They do call at the Port of Savannah already, but they can't carry a full load of cargo and they can only travel up the river at high tide.
A deeper river channel will change that. Dredging is underway in the part of the channel that extends into the Atlantic Ocean.
Crews must wait to dredge upriver until measures are in place to protect the environment. Work has begun to prepare two sites for systems that will regulate the level of oxygen in the river. Other projects will reduce the impact of salt water that's expected to intrude farther into the river.
In a statement, Governor Deal calls the Panama Canal expansion "one of the largest and most important civil works projects in recent memory."