Dare accepts additional funds for dredging work

The Dare County Council of Commissioners will provide the additional funding needed to break the shoals in the South Ferry Channel. Photo: Donna Barrett / Island Free Press

The Dare County Council of Commissioners will provide the additional funding needed to break up the shoals in the South Ferry Channel, which will complete the Hatteras Inlet dredging project.

The Board of Directors approved the request for funds to have the US Army Corps of Engineers dredge Merritt continue to work in Hatteras Inlet long enough to break through the shoals in the South Ferry Channel, “a decision that will change the situation. gives for local commercial fishermen. that depend on a fully open and navigable waterway, ”according to the county.

Council approved the request for funding of $ 60,000. That, plus a grant from North Carolina’s Shallow-Draft Channel Navigation and Aquatic Weed Fund, allowed the Corps to dredge an additional 12 days.

The Corps began the 28-day dredging project at Hatteras Inlet earlier this month with the aim of breaking up the shoal that has formed in the South Ferry Channel, making the waterway impassable for most ships .

The original plan was for the Corps’ Merritt side dredge to cut through the sandbank. Once the channel was sufficiently deep and wide, the Murden, a shallow draft hopper dredge, was to complete the project by removing the remaining sand from the channel. After four days of dredging, the Merritt had only reached the sandbank that had cordoned off the canal, and it would take longer to break through the shoals so that the Murden could be brought up, according to a county statement.

Corps representative Joen Petersen explained at the Dare County Waterways Commission meeting on March 8 that the delay in expected progress was due in part to the unusually low tides that had occurred during the period of dredging.

With the Merritt’s time in the waterway limited and alternative options exhausted, the Waterways Commission asked Dare County to help them secure the funds to give the dredge more time to resolve. shoal issues in the South Ferry Channel.

“If the Dare County Board of Commissioners had not approved funding for the additional dredging, the Murden could only have dredged eight more days, and that would not have been enough to make the South Ferry Channel deep enough and wide enough to navigate safely. all users throughout the summer, ”said Brent Johnson, Dare County project manager.

For more information on the project, visit www.DareNC.com/Projects.

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