U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is requesting a meeting between the top official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Dare County Board of Commissioners to discuss critical infrastructure investments in the Oregon Inlet.
Hagan sent a letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), asking that she hear directly from community leaders about the urgent need for additional funding to dredge at Oregon inlet, particularly until the Bonner Bridge is replaced.
“Funding for dredging at Oregon Inlet is vital for a coastal infrastructure that supports jobs throughout North Carolina,” wrote Hagan. “Similarly, the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project would provide better access through the inlet, making passage safer for everyone.”
The Wilmington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that a minimum of $4-$5 million is needed annually to keep the Oregon Inlet open for vessels. However, the President’s FY2015 budget proposal contains only $800,000, a funding level that would jeopardize “the USACE’s ability to keep the inlet maintained and operational year round,” Hagan wrote.
The Inlet, which is authorized for a depth of 14 feet, is already as shallow as four feet or less in many areas.
“I remain committed to working with Dare County officials to explore all possible options to keep the channel clear and ensure that boats are able to pass safely under Bonner Bridge,” said Hagan.
Press Release, May 6, 2014