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$18.2M marked for Portsmouth Harbor, Piscataqua River project

PORTSMOUTH – The Army Corps of Engineers included $18.2 million in its 2021 work plan for a Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River navigation improvement project, the state's two U.S. senators and a House representative announced Tuesday.

The project would widen the uppermost turning basin of the Piscataqua River from 800 feet to 1,200 feet, improving navigation safety. Due to its current narrow width, vessels navigating the river – including liquefied petroleum gas tankers and other bulk shippers – face significant safety risks and transit restrictions, according to a press release issued by Sen. Jeanne Shahen's office.

Shaheen and Sen. Maggie Hassan, both Democrats, commented on the project in the release.

"The Piscataqua River's narrow turning basin has long been a challenge threatening the safety of ships and tugboats moving goods in and out of the Portsmouth Harbor, which makes the announcement of this expansion very welcome news. I'm thrilled the Corps heeded our calls in Congress to make this a priority," Shaheen said.

Hassan likewise called it "an urgent safety concern" and called the improvements "essential to the businesses and communities on our Seacoast."

Rep. Chris Pappas said he supported legislation for the project and said, "This funding will complete this badly needed project by the end of the year."