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Carteret Dredging Projects Mostly Complete

Temporary sand piping is spotted on the beach in Atlantic Beach last week, while in the distance a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge sits off the coast to collect sand as part of regular dredging of the channel to the N.C. Port of Morehead City. Officials said this week the project is now complete. Photo: Mike Shutak

Reprinted from Carteret County News-Times

CAPE CARTERET — The long awaited Old Ferry Channel/Deer Creek dredging project is nearly complete, Carteret County Shore Protection Office Manager Greg Rudolph said Monday.

“We’re looking really good here,” he said in an email. “Our contractor has completed all the reaches (segments) except for the Old Ferry Channel and Deer Creek South, where we are conducting some cleanup work.”

Cleanup work entails addressing and redredging any high spots the surveys revealed as problematic as the project proceeded. The cleanup is common practice for a dredging project, Rudolph added.

Work began Jan. 14, so it’s taken a little more than two months to do the $1.4 million project.

He praised the contractor for the fast job to get the waters ready for spring boating and fishing season.

“T.D. Eure has been down maybe one or two days, total,” he said, despite several extended periods of bad weather.

The Old Ferry Channel in Bogue Sound runs from Cape Carteret to Emerald Isle and was the only passage for people and vehicles between the two towns until the high-rise bridge was opened in 1971.

Other segments of the dredging project were the main stem of Deer Creek, the connector from Deer Creek to Old Ferry Channel, Deer Creek North Extension, School House Creek and Deer Creek North.

Deer Creek and its tributaries are the main way boaters in Cape Carteret get to the deep water of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean, and town residents and visitors have clamored for dredging for years as portions have been badly silted.

The state paid for two-thirds of the work, while the county, Cape Carteret and residents along the creek and its tributaries split the other third.

The dredge spoils are temporarily on privately-owned sites nearby, drying and awaiting sale or permanent disposal.

Meanwhile, Rudolph said Monday work to dredge channels at the North Carolina Port of Morehead City and put the material on the strand at Fort Macon State Park west to The Circle Development District in Atlantic Beach is complete. The state park and Atlantic Beach receive the free sand every third year when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredges the port channels.

The work was done by Weeks Marine of New Jersey at a cost of about $18 million, all paid by the federal government because of the port’s strategic and economic importance.

Under a longstanding agreement with the corps, the town gets the sand free because it is the closest disposal site for the dredged material. It’s piped across Bogue Sound to the beach.

Rudolph said the work was supposed to be done in 2020, but was delayed because of funding constraints.

“It was a big relief to have everything come together this year for the east end of Bogue Banks,” he said.

In the other two years of the three-year port dredging cycle, the material dredged is dumped offshore.

Once the cleanup work is complete in Deer Creek and Old Ferry Channel, that will leave one major, ongoing dredging and beach nourishment project, encompassing most of the strand in Emerald Isle, with material furnished from a borrow site in the ocean off Atlantic Beach.

This story is provided courtesy of the Carteret County News-Times, a news outlet based in Morehead City. Coastal Review Online partners with the News-Times to provide our readers with news of the North Carolina coast.

About the Author

Brad Rich

Brad Rich is a reporter for the Carteret County News-Times in Morehead City. He has written about fishery and environmental issues along the central North Carolina coast for 35 years. He lives in Hubert with his wife, Gwen.