North End Channel Dredging to Start in October

Sep 27, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

The schedule has been announced for an October start to this fall’s dredging project of the Double Creek channels and other shallow navigation channels in Barnegat Bay near Barnegat Inlet.

According to a Sept. 25 announcement by the state Department of Transportation, the project will include the following channels: Double Creek Mainland, Double Creek Inlet, High Bar Harbor and Barnegat Light Stake. The latter is just off the municipal boat ramp.

“Double Creek Inlet Channel has been closed, and commercial, sailboat and general recreational traffic had been severely limited in some locations since Superstorm Sandy,” said the DOT.

“This project will ensure renewed safe navigation, and maintain these Barnegat Bay Channels in a state of good repair.”

In preparation for the dredging, the DOT’s contractor, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co., is now working during daylight hours seven days a week to place pipeline in or near the channels, which will be both submerged and floating.

The pipeline will be used to pump sediment to the Oyster Creek confined disposal facility (CDF) and sand to the Barnegat Light borough beach near the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park.

Dredging operations are expected to begin in early October and continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the end of December, said the DOT.

“Channel use may be limited where the dredge is in operation and where the pipeline is carrying dredged material to its placement locations. Channel closures are not expected, although this is subject to change.”

Mariners should be advised that state aids to navigation will be removed as necessary for the duration of the project. Updates to the “Local Notice to Mariners” should be expected as the project progresses.

The public is advised to be aware of and stay alert to the pipeline, buoys, dredge and other equipment during this time. The DOT asks that “no one approach the pipeline, dredge or any related project equipment under any circumstances, whether or not active dredging operations are observed.”

“Pipelines can often be difficult to see on the water, and boaters should proceed through dredging maintenance and construction zones with the utmost caution. No wake speed should be observed in active work zones throughout the project duration.”

Boaters have been waiting for the news of the channel dredging. There are certain times of the year when dredging is prohibited by the state, to protect aquatic vegetation and young winter flounder. Additionally, when the dredging project had been advertised, it attracted no bidders the first time around. At another point last year, the project got caught up in the governor’s three-month moratorium on “nonessential” transportation projects.

“We are pleased to see the official announcement of this long-awaited project,” said Ed Wellington, Barnegat Light Borough Council member who chairs the council’s docks and harbors committee. “The completion of the project will open long-closed or restricted channels and will make boating traffic through our area safer and make the trip from Barnegat Bay to Barnegat Inlet a much shorter distance.

“The borough of Barnegat Light will be ready to support the contractor in any way requested.”

The work is part of an $8.7 million project to dredge a total of five state channels in Forked River and Barnegat Bay, said the DOT.

Following Superstorm Sandy, the DOT in March 2014 announced 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.”

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors.

 — Maria Scandale

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