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Beals Island dredging project set to start

November 05, 2016 | Stephen Rappaport | Website

BEALS — As the nation goes to the polls next Tuesday to choose its new leaders, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin a long-awaited dredging project off the shores of Beals Island.

According to a description published by the Corps, the proposed work involves urgently needed maintenance dredging to remove shoals in Beals Harbor and the Pig Island Gut Federal Navigation Projects. The work will restore both areas to their authorized dimensions.

A mechanical dredge will remove about 83,000 cubic yards of sediment from the 10-foot anchorage in Beals Harbor, and about 10,000 cubic yards of silty sand will be removed from the 6-foot channel and 6-foot anchorage in Pig Island Gut. Work will begin in Beals Harbor, then the dredging will move to Pig Island Gut.

The Beals Harbor anchorage is generally rectangular in shape, about 600 feet long and averaging about 800 feet in width. It has not been maintained since it was originally dredged by the Corps in 1956 and 1957.

The Pig Island Gut project includes a 6-foot-deep, 80-foot-wide channel and a rectangular 800-foot by 300-foot anchorage. It has not been maintained since the original improvement dredging project in 1965.

Dredged material will be deposited at the previously-used Mark Island Disposal Site. The disposal area is about 1,640 feet square and located in Chandler Bay about five miles away from the dredging project.

Dredging and disposal will be done by mechanical means using a dredge barge with crane and bucket or excavator, tugs and scows. The work will be performed by the Cashman Dredging and Marine Contracting Co. of Quincy, Mass., with a contract cost of $3,433,015.

Bids for the contract were advertised last December and the contract awarded last April. Work is slated to begin Nov. 8 and finish by next April 8.

The problems in both areas to be dredged are primarily, the Corps said in a statement announcing the work, the result of natural shoaling. They create hazardous conditions for the busy commercial fishing fleet based in the harbors.

Recent hydrographic surveys indicate that almost all of the Beals Harbor anchorage has shoaled up, and half of the Pig Island Gut anchorage has shoaled up as well in addition to portions of the channe