$63 Million Dredging Contract Goes to New Jersey Firm - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

$63 Million Dredging Contract Goes to New Jersey Firm

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BROADKILL BEACH, Del. - The Army Corp of Engineers has issued a contract to a New Jersey firm to dredge a part of the Delaware Bay shipping channel off of Sussex County at a cost of $63 million. That sand will then be used to replenish the shoreline of Broadkill Beach.

This Sussex County project is one of seven others spanning up the Delaware Bay from the Port of Philadelphia to the mouth of the Bay. All in all, this dredging project will remove sand from 102 miles of the shipping channel. 

The Sussex County section of the project will move 1.9 million cubic yards of sand from the middle of the channel to Broadkill Beach, which many neighbors said will relieve some of the erosion problems they face. Jim Bailey, the President of the Broadkill Beach Preservation Association joined WBOC on the beach.  

"The situation now is that you do have properties right now that are at risk," he said. 

At low tide the distance between many homes and the coast is a couple dozen feet, but during high tide the separation is far smaller. 

"We've kinda been hoping for this project for a very long time," Bailey said. "And now that it's going to actually come to fruition, everybody here is just dancing and happy. Delighted and just waiting to see it happen. And praying that we don't get a hurricane or a major Northeaster before then and now." 

The Sussex County project is expected to begin in September and could take up to 19 months to complete. Receiving the contract was the New Jersey-based Weeks Marine Inc., which initially looked for $70 million to complete the project. 

65 percent of the cost will be paid for by the federal government. The remaining 35 percent will be paid for by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. Delaware will not be responsible for any of the costs of the project, although they will have to pay for any future maintenance of the beach nourishment on Broadkill Beach. 

Some like fisherman Ken Cunningham said that the benefits to the beach would be just a small piece of the puzzle. He said the commercial benefits will be far larger. 

"We have got to have what's on the ship getting into the port," he said. "Channel gets to shallow, we're going to have a problem."

Others such as tourist Matt Kinnamon said the price tag was shocking. 

"That's a pretty big chunk of change to be dumping sand," he said. "But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done." 
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