By David Madden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The next phase of dredging the Delaware River should get underway shortly, with the federal approval of almost $17 million to take the work above the Delaware state line.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is expecting to get its orders shortly to continue deepening the shipping channel on the river from 40 to 45 feet.  This phase of the work will begin just north of Wilmington.

Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett says he wants to accommodate larger tankers on the Delaware River that now use other ports along the east coast:

“It has been our gateway to the Atlantic and beyond. We intend to keep that gate open and welcoming the world and its commerce.”

Several  environmental groups and the State of New Jersey have been trying, so far unsuccessfully, to delay the project in court. But what judges haven’t done, Congress has, by dragging out the funding commitments.

Next year’s funding could be included in President Obama’s proposed budget — due out next week.

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