Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority announced the signing of the third Delaware River dredging contract needed to continue deepening the channel from south of the Philadelphia International Airport to the Walt Whitman Bridge.

The third contract was awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for $14.55 million and was signed on July 31. The award consists of approximately $1 million of funds from Pennsylvania, along with $13.55 million of federal funds.

"This continuation will allow the Port of Philadelphia to compete with deep-water ports up and down the East Coast," Corbett said. It will allow the next generation of giant ships, for which the Panama Canal is being widened and deepened, to dock in Philadelphia, Corbett added.

The project to deepen the Delaware River's main channel to 45 feet from 40 began in early 2010 after years of planning and preparation.

"Studies have estimated that by deepening this river channel to 45 feet, we will create 8,000 to 12,000 direct jobs and spin off as many as 38,000 more throughout the region," Corbett said.

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