USA: Long-Term Outlook for Oregon Inlet is Not Good, Panel Says

Even though some advancement has been made on the clogged channel, the long-term prospect for Oregon does not seem to be good.

A number of conditions, including the lack of money, are contributing to shoaling under the main span of the Bonner Bridge.

The side caster dredge Merritt had managed to scour the channel to depths of 4 to 6 feet in the problem area said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey leader Steve Shriver. Although some improvement has been made this is not enough for the commercial trawlers who would like to use the inlet for the winter fishing season and draw up to 11 feet.

Being aware of the dangers to the Bonner Bridge, commercial fisherman stressed that a jetty on the north side of the inlet is the only solution.

In 2003, the federal government reached a decision to spend money on dredge instead of on jetties.

The state promised to provide additional $1.5 million once the federal money runs out under a memorandum of agreement, said Bob Keistler, Corps Project Manager in the Wilmington District.

Keistler said the Corps is working with the state to try to streamline the troublesome MOA process and get a five-year agreement in place. The main purpose of the state providing financial help is to keep boat traffic moving through the correct channel while the new, parallel bridge is built over Oregon Inlet.

A deal for $1.9 million to maintain ferry channels around the state was also included in the undertaking, Keistler added.

[mappress]

Dredging Today Staff, December 1, 2011;

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