After numerous complications with dredging the South Ferry Channel, the Army Corps of Engineers reported to the Dare County Waterways Commission at its Monday meeting that the hopper dredge Murden has finally started work removing the problem shoal.
“They’re working daylight operations only,” the Corps’ Chief of Floating Plant Joen Petersen told commissioners, who met virtually Monday. “They are taking the material offshore now.”
Petersen said that the dredge, which started work on Saturday, is “light loading” because the channel, then at about 70 feet wide and 7.5-feet deep, was still not wide or deep enough for full loads.
“We’re taking partial loads offshore, roughly an hour round-trip, give or take a little bit,” he said, adding that about four or five loads have been removed each day, depending on conditions but, he added, there may be limits to how much material can be removed from the channel.
“So do I think we can get it 100 feet wide?” Petersen said, responding to a question about the potential to reach the targeted width. “I think so. But I don’t think we’ll make 150.”
The odds of reaching the 12-foot depth goal, however, is more conceivable, at least partially.
“I think we’ll be close to that in the center,” he said. “On the edges there, you’re not going to have that, because it’s just going to cave in a little bit because of the steep bank.”