Believe it or not, the ASCE/COPRI Waterways Committee initiative to create a new "Navigation Engineering" discipline is now twenty years old! During the past two decades, the committee has produced several Manuals of Practice (MOPs) and has seen Navigation Engineering recognized as a separate and distinct specialty.
As a refresher, Navigation Engineering involves the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of navigation infrastructure between the ocean and inland port facilities. This infrastructure includes entrance channel jetties, channels, dredging, training works, bank protection, turning basins, anchorages, and locks and dams.
In 2009, ASCE established an "Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Ports, and Navigation Engineering (ACOPNE)." The mission of ACOPNE is to recognize experts in these engineering specialties and bestow "Diplomate" status on those who have demonstrated notable expertise, experience, and leadership in one or more of these specialties. The Waterways Committee took the lead to develop the Navigation Engineering "Body of Knowledge" for the certification effort.
The Navigation Engineering specialty gained its present visibility primarily through publication of the following MOPs written by the Waterways Committee and published by ASCE :
No. 80, Report on Ship Channel Design, 1993
No. 94, Inland Navigation: Locks, Dams, and Channels, 1998
No. 107, Ship Channel Design and Operation, 2005 (revised and expanded MOP 80)
No. 116, Navigation Engineering Practice and Ethical Standards, 2009
Most recently, the committee has produced another MOP which has been forward to the COPRI Board of Governors for approval and publication. This manual, Inland Navigation Channel Training Works, presents design guidance for dike and revetment structures on the US navigable waterways. This is the first comprehensive publication on this subject and includes design techniques that are not available in the mainstream technical literature. One of the peer reviewers plans to use this manual in his River Mechanics course when it is published.
Another MOP in the planning stage is Navigation Lock and Dam Modernization. This is a timely subject since 50% of the 257 locks in the US are over 50 years old, and by 2020 eight out of ten will have exceeded their design life. The ASCE 2009 Report Card for American Infrastructure gave inland waterways a D- grade and estimated a $125 Billion cost to replace the present system. The Lock Modernization MOP's current scope is to look at three modernization options:
Enlarge existing lock
Build replacement lock or locks
Thus far, the committee has identified 21 major lock rehab projects (starting in 1996 and scheduled thru 2013) with a total estimated cost of $940 Million.
Additionally, a study of US ports and inland waterway modernization strategies and options is currently underway by the US Army Corps of Engineers' Institute for Water Resources. This Congressionally mandated study, The US Port and Inland Waterways Modernization Strategy: Options for the Future, will develop a vision for meeting the needs for US port and inland waterway modernization and propose a high-level strategy to implement that vision.
The Waterways Committee is currently looking for industry participation and volunteers on other potential MOP subjects related to Navigation Engineering such as Environmental; Economic analysis; Construction; and Operations. We have made good progress on developing a Navigation Engineering body of literature but there is still more work to be done!
For more information on any of these topics or get to involved, please contact Bruce McCartney or Tim Welp, Waterways Committee Chair.