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NCDOT Seeks Permit to Dredge Ferry Route

Site of the proposed project to dredge and maintain a 2.5-mile section of the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route. Illustration: NCDOT Ferry Division

The Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District is accepting written comments until April 24 on a proposed dredging and maintenance project on a 2.5-mile section of the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route called Sloop Channel in Hyde County.

The Corps said it received an application from the North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division seeking authorization to dredge the section “to allow for the safe passage to and from Ocracoke and Hatteras for both private and commercial vessels,” according to a public notice from the Corps Monday on the project.

Written comments on the proposed work can be submitted by 5 p.m. April 24 to Kyle Barnes, Washington Regulatory Field Office, 2407 West Fifth St., Washington, N.C. 27889, at 910-51-4584.

The project area will be from the South Dock ferry basin on Ocracoke Island west into the Pamlico Sound, following the NCDOT Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route to where it turns north, according to the document. The western terminus of the project extends through an area about 3,000 feet long identified as “The Reef,” which has sands that shoal and cause an irregular channel with depths that fluctuate and become problematic for continuous ferry traffic.

NCDOT has a permit to perform maintenance dredging over a 10-year period on Sloop Channel entrance channel at the South Dock ferry terminal. The permit allows for the channel to be maintained at a width of 225 feet and 12 feet deep at mean low-low water, or MLLW.

This project request is to maintain the 2.5-mile segment of Sloop Channel at the same width and depth of the adjoining permit area of the ferry terminal with 3:1 side slopes.

Dredging activities will be limited to working outside the anadromous fish moratorium of April 1 through Sept. 30. Depending on the severity of shoaling in the channel, dredging projects would last between three to 12 weeks.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.