MOREHEAD CITY — Crews last week finished dredging the Pelletier Creek harbor, a project more than a year in the making.
The actual dredging work began April 21 and was complete Tuesday, according to Morehead City Planning Director Sandi Watkins. Final surveying work and other finishing touches to ensure the harbor is at the proper depth were also scheduled to wrap up this week, after which the U.S. Coast Guard can restore aids to navigation for the harbor.
Though the dredging itself took about a week, business owners and those with boats docked in the harbor had been requesting it be dredged since Hurricane Florence in September 2018. City Manager Ryan Eggleston said various delays, including the need to find outside funding and a yearly moratorium on in-water work from about April to October, pushed the project off for more than a year.
“It was around February/March (2019), and we were running up against the fact that we knew it’d be several hundred thousand dollars, we had no funding for it, and with the moratorium, we didn’t even have time to do the work if we had the funding,” he said.
The city was able to secure funding for the project, which totaled $204,000, in the form of two grants. The first was $136,000 from the state’s Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Aquatic Weed Fund, and the second was from a state disaster recovery fund covering the city’s local $68,000 match.
Crews with Harkers Island-based Brooks Dredging and Marine Construction dredged about 3,000 cubic yards of material from the harbor to bring it back to an acceptable navigable depth. The in-water work moratorium normally begins April 15, but the state granted Morehead City an extension to be able to carry out the work.
“They were gracious enough to give us a two-week extension just to try and get that work done so we didn’t have a whole ‘nother summer season where that creek was inaccessible,” Mr. Eggleston said.
Moffat & Nichols helped the city plan the project, and state Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret, Jones) helped secure the local match and extension on the moratorium.
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