Corps has $2.4 million for Waterway dredging at IOP, Sullivan’s
A boat is shown stranded on a shoal in the Intracoastal Waterway. A local section of the waterway between Isle of Palms Connector and Ben Sawyer Bridge will be dredged to make marine travel easier. The federal government has appropriated $2.4 million for the project.
Some $2.4 million in federal funds has been authorized for dredging the Intracoastal Waterway between Ben Sawyer Bridge and the Isle of Palms Connector, officials said Thursday.
The section at Breach Inlet between Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island is only two feet deep at low tide. “It’s bad. It’s definitely bad,” said Brian Berrigan, president of Isle of Palms Marina.
Work to dredge the channel is expected to begin in October, said Sean McBride, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District.
“It’s our No. 1 priority,” McBride said.
The waterway near Breach Inlet has been nearly dry at low tide because of shoaling, a condition in which sand builds up and blocks the channel. The authorized channel depth is 12 feet and the width is 90 feet.
Berrigan said word of the dredging is good news but only a temporary solution for a condition that is sure to happen again.
“We definitely need a long-term fix,” he said.
Berrigan said transient boaters avoid the area because of the shoaling problem.
“It’s changing people’s schedules for sure,” he said.
As a result, the marina has taken a tremendous hit financially. Diesel fuel sales are off 30 percent from last year, he said.
The City of Isle of Palms said the condition of the waterway has created safety concerns for boaters, particularly at low tide. “Boaters should use caution in this area until the dredging project can deepen the ICW,” the city said.
The dredging is expected to be completed by the end of the year, the city said.
In the fall of 2013, a Mount Pleasant woman was injured on the waterway near the inlet when a 44-foot trawler drawing 3 feet 10 inches of water hit bottom. The impact caused her to fall backward and hit her head. In the emergency room, doctors determined she had a fractured vertebrae, a concussion and a broken rib. She spent two nights in the hospital.
Because of the low water, some boaters go offshore and re-enter the waterway at Charleston Harbor. The section of waterway has acquired a reputation as one of the worst areas from Virginia to Florida.
The last substantial funding the Army Corps received for waterway dredging was in 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Some states, such as Florida and North Carolina, have dedicated funding for waterway maintenance. The Florida Inland Navigation District collects about $20 million annually to pay for waterway maintenance in 12 counties. North Carolina funds waterway maintenance through boater registration fees and the gas tax.
Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711 or Twitter.com/prentissfindlay.
Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge
Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch