Bay Channels to Barnegat Inlet Restored

Post-Sandy Dredging Removed 130,000 Yards of Sand
May 29, 2018
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Boaters in the Barnegat Bay Inlet area this summer season will find state navigation channels restored to navigable depths for the first time since Superstorm Sandy due to the completion of dredging underway last fall and winter.

The $8.7 million project east of Forked River restored the Double Creek Mainland, Double Creek Inlet, High Bar Harbor and Barnegat Light Stake channels in Barnegat Bay.

New Jersey Department of Transportation officials announced, “These channels are now considered to be in a state of good repair for the 2018 boating season,” while “many of these channels had been shoaled in since Superstorm Sandy, limiting boating options, emergency response, and commercial vessel traffic in the area.”

The channels are in addition to the Forked River channels, which were dredged in the late summer and fall of 2017 as part of a $2.5 million project.

Overall, the State removed more than 135,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Barnegat Inlet and Forked River complexes.

This project began in early October with work taking place 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week when weather and other conditions permitted. It was completed on schedule by Dec. 31. More specific information is below.

Barnegat Bay Inlet Channels: Boaters in the Double Creek Mainland, Double Creek Inlet, and High Bar Harbor channels will now be able to enjoy at least seven feet of water at mean low tide (MLW). The 95,000 cubic yards of sediment removed from these channels was pumped to the newly acquired Oyster Creek Confined Disposal Facility in Lacey Township.

Double Creek Inlet Channel had been closed and commercial, sailboat and general recreational traffic had been severely limited in some locations since Superstorm Sandy.

“This project will ensure renewed safe navigation, and maintain these Barnegat Bay channels in a state of good repair,” said the DOT in a press statement.

“The deep freeze in December 2017 prevented the contractor from fully restoring the High Bar Harbor Channel to the complete project depth of 7 feet. NJDOT worked with regulatory agencies to schedule a time to continue dredging before summer of about 1,800 feet of this channel from its current depth of 4.5 feet. However, a waiver to finish the work was not granted,” the DOT added.

Barnegat Light Stake Channel, which runs by the municipal boat slip area, was dredged to “at least five feet of water at low tide,” reports said. The 6,000 cubic yards of material from this channel, and a small portion of the Double Creek Inlet Channel, which consisted of greater than 90 percent sand, was placed on the lighthouse beach at the request of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park.

Forked River Area Channels: Boaters in the Forked River area will find that five channels have been dredged to project depth: Forked River (7 feet at MLW); Forked River Middle Branch (5 feet at MLW); Forked River Middle Branch Spur (5 feet at MLW); South Branch Spur, known as Elks Channel (5 feet at MLW); and South Branch Spur (5 feet at MLW).

“The contractor, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, experienced numerous challenges with weather delays, differing site conditions, and equipment, and was able to make the necessary adjustments to keep the project advancing with minimal impacts to boaters and residents to complete on schedule,” according to the DOT.

The project had been announced in March 2014 to be a “comprehensive State Channel Dredging and Emergency Response Program to ensure and maintain safe navigation statewide, and to continue to be able to respond adequately to waterway impacts from named storms.” —Maria Scandale

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

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