The Martin County Board of County Commissioners approved the award of a $6.4 million dollar contract to dredge the St. Lucie Inlet to Norfolk Dredging Company of Virginia.
The company met all the requirements of the bidding process and was the lowest qualified bidder, therefore winning the contract. Norfolk Dredging has extensive experience in coastal dredging projects.
The initial bid calls for the removal of 300,000 cubic yards of sand from the Inlet. Mobilization of equipment which includes the transport of over 25,000 feet of pipeline and many large pieces of equipment will begin immediately. Dredging is expected to begin in early-March. The dredged material will move through a pipeline to a beach in the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge. The project is expected to be complete by April 30, the start of turtle nesting season. If time allows, additional material may be dredged.
The natural flow of water moving from north to south causes shoaling (sand build up) within the St. Lucie Inlet. When left unmanaged, shoaling in the Inlet creates serious navigational obstructions and limits the use of the inlet as Martin County’s only outlet to the ocean. The impoundment basin (the area where drifting sand is captured to help keep the channel open) has been filled to capacity for some time.
Shoaling extends across the inlet’s mouth and will only continue to worsen until the inlet is dredged. Due to this shoaling, the St. Lucie Inlet is at a point where it could soon be declared non-navigable. This would have a tremendous, negative impact on Martin County and our quality of life in many ways. Inlet maintenance is critical for safety, economic, recreational, tourism and environmental reasons.
Dredging Today Staff, January 26, 2012;