Turning Basins Widening Navigation Study


April 26, 2023

Revised draft IFR/EA release for public review

May 31, 2022

Commence CEQA

June 16, 2023

Revised draft IFR/EA comment period closed

June 30, 2024
Anticipate concluding feasibility study period
Late 2024

anticipate concluding CEQA


The existing federal navigation turning basins in the Oakland Harbor, most recently improved circa 2009, were designed for a 6,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) capacity vessel with a total length of 1,139-feet. Vessels routinely calling Oakland today are larger, and in particular longer, than this design vessel. Vessels calling Oakland with lengths greater than 1,139-feet have transit restrictions resulting in inefficiencies and negative economic impacts.

Proposed Project

The proposed Oakland Harbor Turning Basins Widening Project involves widening both the Inner and Outer Harbor turning basins at the Oakland Seaport. The Inner Harbor Turning Basin (IHTB) would be widened an additional 334 feet, from its current diameter of 1,500 feet to 1,834 feet. The Outer Harbor Turning Basin (OHTB) would be widened an additional 315 feet, from its current diameter of 1,650 feet to 1,965 feet.

Seaport Facilities

Updated: April 10, 2024

The Oakland Harbor Turning Basins Widening Navigation Study has reached another important milestone with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR). The Port released the Draft EIR on October 3, 2023. The Port hosted four (4) separate public meetings during the public review period to discuss the proposed project, the environmental impacts of the proposed project, and to receive public comment on Draft EIR. The public review period concluded December 18, 2023.

The project team is reviewing all comments received and anticipates a Final EIR will be presented to the Port’s Board of Commissioners late 2024 to consider and determine if it was prepared in compliance with CEQA.

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Widened turning basins allow vessels to transit efficiently and safely with the Oakland Harbor, resulting in:

  • Decreased restrictions
  • Decreased in-harbor transit time
  • Decreased transit emissions
  • Decreased transportation costs
  • Increased safety

Federal Partnership

  • United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)


Including, but not limited to:

  • Neighboring communities in Alameda and Oakland
  • Port tenants
  • Port customers
  • Port users
  • Port workers
  • Industry associations
  • Environmental groups
  • Regulatory agencies
  • Cities of Oakland and Alameda

Public Meetings

Community Stakeholder Meeting #1 (Virtual)

August 23, 2021 6:00 pm

Community Stakeholder Meeting #2 (Virtual)

January 12, 2022 6:00 pm

Public Meeting (Hybrid)

February 15, 2023 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
West Oakland Public Library

Frequently Asked Questions

A turning basin allows vessels to turn around in the same manner that cul-de-sacs allow vehicles to turn around.

Oakland has turning basins because Oakland’s inner and outer harbor channels are dead ends for deep draft vessels. Oakland has two designated widened areas of the navigation channel – one circle at the inner harbor and one circle at the outer harbor – for vessels to turn around. These existing turning basins serving Oakland’s marine terminals are too narrow for vessels calling Oakland today to turn around. Without turning basins, vessels would either not be permitted to dock at one or more marine terminals or would be restricted to departing the Oakland harbor in reverse.

Vessels need to turn around to enter or exit the Port. They also require flexibility to turn around on arrival or departure to ensure they berth (or dock) on the side of their electrical “shore power” connection so they can plug into the electrical grid and turn off their auxiliary engines while at dock. Furthermore, for emergency and natural disaster readiness, the preferred orientation is to have a vessel berthed with the bow (the front of the ship) positioned toward open ocean for urgent undocking if necessitated. In addition, vessels are not intended to be maneuvered in reverse and any requirement to do so adds additional costs, safety concerns, and delay to this high-risk maneuver. Transits in reverse are to be avoided; thus, Oakland’s turning basins are located adjacent to or just beyond its marine terminals.

Yes, Oakland’s turning basins are geographically placed to minimize the impacts of currents and wind when a vessel is turning around, both of which can be quite strong in the Oakland harbor. Turning basins are typically situated near the terminals they are intended to serve to avoid maneuvering in reverse, to minimize disruption of traffic in the rest of the harbor, and to reduce time in transit.

Improvements were last completed to both existing basins around 2005 to accommodate maneuvering of a 1,139-foot vessel (6,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) class vessel). Turning vessels longer than 1,139 feet in length have added restrictions and experience delays that can lead to cascading delays for other vessels of all sizes calling Oakland.