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Carteret County eyes future dredging of Ophelia Inlet through Core Banks

Posted on April 24, 2023

Carteret County commissioners Monday night approved a contract with Charlotte-based HDR Engineering of the Carolinas for an engineering study of dredging Ophelia Inlet from Core Sound to the Atlantic Ocean.

The action was part of the consent agenda – a list of items that can be approved with one vote – during the commission’s regular monthly session in its meeting in the administration building on Courthouse Square and online via the county’s Facebook Page.

In a memo to the board for the meeting, Gene Foxworth, county assistant manager and planning director, said, “We have discussed this project for some time, specifically the connecting channels from Harkers Island to Ophelia Inlet. This is a commonly used channel that has seen shoaling in spots and is commonly used by both commercial and recreational vessels.”

Ophelia Inlet runs through Core Banks, and its exact location has varied over time.

“Ultimately we plan to have a usable, marked channel serving this area and allowing access to the ocean from Ophelia Inlet,” Foxworth said in the memo.

The contract is for $ 67,946.40.

In its proposal to the county, HDR said McKim & Creed, an HDR subcontractor, will conduct a detailed hydrographic survey of the proposed channel limits.

“The hydrographic survey will be sufficient to design the dredging channel template and calculate the required dredging volumes for the newly established channel,” the proposal states. “The HDR project team’s investigations include existing data sets, navigation charts, previous surveys, etc., to determine the most likely location of the deepest channel.”

HDR said it will “review several alternatives to establish the best route to provide safe navigation through Core Sound from Harkers Island.

“The objective of the survey is to document and map accurate existing bathymetry within the limits of the proposed channel.”

HDR is expected to calculate the required dredging volumes to reach a design channel depth of minus-6 feet mean low water for the entire channel. The surveyor will document the needed dredging volumes for the county. 


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