Contractor finishes Carteret County portion of Atlantic Harbor project

This still image from a Carteret County Shore Protection Office video shows heavy equipment putting in one of the last of 30 wave attenuators just outside White Point recently. (Carteret County Shore Protection Office screenshot)

ATLANTIC — After months of work,theCarteret County portion of the large and complicated Atlantic Harbor improvement project is finished.

Greg Rudolph, manager of the County Shore Protection Office, supervised the dredging to make the harbor more accessible, as well as the granite sill construction project around White Point, just offshore the harbor in Core Sound. He said Tuesday he couldn’t be happier.

The final inspection with the county’s engineering firm, Moffat & Nichol, and project contractor T.D. Eure was underway Tuesday morning.

“We’re ready to ‘call it a project’” Mr. Rudolph said. “Now we’ll wait for the final invoice and our reimbursement (money).”

The project took enormous coordination, Mr. Rudolph said, as there have been many moving parts, including getting the materials on hand for the work.

All that’s left now is for the N.C. Coastal Federation to plant vegetation in and around the granite sill, creating new marine habitat and further reducing the likelihood of erosion of White Point, which protects the harbor. The granite sill is 1,700 feet long and used 9,545 tons of stone. It has six gaps to allow fish passage, seaward of the stones, and there are five attenuators in each gap. They are supposed to reduce wave energy without blocking the gaps.

Mr. Rudolph said there has been a steady stream of commercial and recreation fishing boats into and out of the harbor all summer, taking advantage of the dredging of the entrance channel, which began in April and was completed before work began to install the rocks and the attenuators.

“It’s been very rewarding to see the boats in and out without any problems,” Mr. Rudolph said.

Despite the major construction, the county didn’t attempt to limit boat traffic.

“Most of the boaters down there know the water really well and they could see the construction equipment,” Mr. Rudolph said.

For safety purposes at night, there are reflectors on the attenuators.

The coastal federation, an environmental group based in the Ocean community off Highway 24, funded about half of the total project because the rock sill and marsh plants – cordgrass and possibly needle rush – will provide habitat for juvenile marine species, including oyster larvae, which attach to rocks. The federation’s funds came from a $1.1 million grant it obtained in 2018 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to build living shorelines.

The state is also kicking in money from its Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Aquatic Weed Fund, which receives money from boat fuel taxes and boat license and title fees.

Mr. Rudolph said the projected budget is $2.115 million, and the county’s share of the total cost should be about $200,000. The county has a contract option and a grant extension to dredge the harbor itself, but officials have not determined whether that will be necessary.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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