By CAROL COMEGNO
The Home Port Alliance's new design of a pier for the USS
New Jersey has received necessary state and federal
permits. But more governmental approvals are needed before
construction can begin.
The state Department of of of of Environmental
Protection approved changes Monday in the pier size and
type of moorings by amending a previous water development
permit for the battleship project, said DEP spokeswoman
Richard Chlan, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers
in Philadelphia, confirmed this week that the Corps also
issued a new construction permit to the alliance because of
the major pier changes.
The state has not yet granted a dredging permit nor a
critical exemption to the ban on pier construction during
the spring spawning season for shad between March 15 and
"They will have to provide us more details and
justification as to why pile driving cannot wait until June
30," said Southard.
The nonprofit alliance hopes to start construction of
the $6 million to $7 million pier before March 15. It wants
to open the ship to the public by Sept. 2, but there is no
legal requirement for it to open by that date.
In order to meet the opening date, the pier must be
ready in August. The historic ship can then be moved to the
pier from its temporary berth at the Broadway Terminal in
South Camden, where it is undergoing a $7 million
The base of the T-shaped battleship pier will jut into
the Delaware River behind the E-Centre entertainment
complex, adjacent to Wiggins Park. The alliance has changed
the design by widening the walkway out to the pier from 30
feet to 45 feet, partly at the request of the city fire
department for better access for emergency vehicles. It
also shortened the dock from 600 feet to 400 feet.
Southard said dredging is required to get the ship into
the new pier area.
Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., and Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J.,
said they met with Army Corps officials in Washington last
week to discuss the possibility of the Corps undertaking
"There are some bureaucratic hurdles we have to jump
over to free up the money from the maintenance fund of the
Army Corps, but we are optimistic it will happen," Andrews
Chlan said the Philadelphia office has no money for that
project, which would require a study to determine if it is
environmentally safe and economically sound.