The Army Corps of Engineers plans to start this weekend work using a contracted dredge to clear critical shoaling in Bigfoot Slough just outside the N.C. Ferry Division’s Ocracoke-Silver Lake Terminal, the North Carolina Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.
“We’re very thankful to partner with the Corps of Engineers,” said Ferry Deputy Division Director for Operations, Jed Dixon.
“Shoaling continues to be a serious issue on the coast. The Corps has always responded quickly when we’ve had urgent requests.”
Shoaling occurs when waves push sand on the seabed and create areas where it is too shallow for boats to move through easily. Dredging ships use tools to excavate and move sand so that boats can more easily navigate those waters.
The fall and winter are less busy than the summer. According to DoT, these dredging efforts will result in a deeper, wider channel that will enable the Ferry Division to return to service next year the larger sound-class ferries to the N.C. Ferry System’s two longest routes.
The dredging work is expected to begin sometime this weekend and take about 50 days, depending on weather and sea conditions.