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MIAMI-The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to issue a draft environmental impact statement in November in response to the six alternative suggestions for widening and deepening the Miami Harbor container ship channel and turning basin.

Besides proposed dredging, the Corps is exploring a proposal to extend the federal channel to the west end of Dodge Island.

In a notice published this week, the Corps says the harbor infrastructure improvements are needed to create better transportation efficiencies for cargo shipped to and from the Port of Miami. It is suggested by sources in the commercial real estate industry that any increase in cargo tonnage through the port has a positive impact on thedevelopment of commercial warehouse space to accommodate the increased trade.

Of the six recommendations they proposed, the Biscayne Bay Pilots and the Miami-Dade County Seaport Department suggested the possibility of relocating the western end of the Dodge Island Cut to accommodate proposed port expansion.

It is uncertain exactly how much the proposed infrastructure improvements could cost, because Corps officials did not respond to a request from GlobeSt.com for that information.

Even though it expects to issue the results of its study in November, the Corps doesn’t anticipate construction to begin until October 2003.

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