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Port Tampa Bay seeks to widen its shipping channels at a cost of $1.11 billion

It's an effort to bring more containers into the port.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has drafted a proposal to deepen and widen the Port of Tampa shipping channels.

The deeper the channel, the more containers a ship can bring into the port, which hasn't been deepened and widened in nearly 50 years.

Dredging and widening the channels is difficult, time consuming and expensive. The corps estimates the cost at $1.11 billion.

That's for making the main channel 45 feet deep. The port really wants a 47-foot depth. It's estimated that dredging to 47 feet would cost an additional $450 million, according to the proposal.

Port Tampa Bay has told the Corps it will try and come up with the extra money so no more federal dollars would be spent.

The Corps of Engineers said over 21 million cubic feet of material would be dredged from the channels. It said some of that material would be used to create seagrass habitats and nesting habitats for shorebirds and sea turtles.