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Housatonic Dredge to Wait Nearly a Year Longer

Posted on November 3, 2016

By John Burgeson, ctpost

A long-awaited project to deepen a channel in the Housatonic River will have to wait nearly a year because there aren’t any dredging ships available this fall that are are big enough for the job.

The project was supposed to start in November, but officials said that because of a lack of dredge ships, it won’t get under way until October 2017.

“There are only two or three commercial ships out there that work on the Eastern Seaboard that are big enough,” said William Rock, a member of the Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission and chairman of its dredge committee.

The $10 million dredging project is designed to remove sand that has been accumulating over the past four decades and send it east to Madison, to replenish Hammonasset Beach State Park. Dredging is expected to improve access to marinas and shore points on the Stratford side of the Housatonic River.

But this is not the first time the dredge plan buried its keel in a sand bar. A few months back, there was disagreement over which agency was responsible for making sure that piping plovers would be protected on the Hammonasset side of the effort. That snag was later sorted out in an agreement between the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut chapter of the National Audubon Society.

Officials said the latest delay would bring some good news in that a larger quantity of sand from the river would be removed, which in turn would send more to Hammonasset. The original plan called for the removal of 250,000 to 300,000 cubic feet of sand.

The last time the Housatonic was dredged was December 2012, but that was a “maintenance dredging,” which only removed the sand brought in by Tropical Storm Irene. The last time that stretch of the Housatonic had a major dredging was in 1976, when 215,000 cubic yards of sand were removed from the channel.

The state Department of Transportation is picking up the $10 million tab, through bonding.  

Source: ctpost

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