Fort Pierce dredging operations delayed due to wreckage
Jacksonville, Fla. – Dredging operations related to the Fort Pierce Shore Protection Project halted Saturday as a result of a barge that sank Feb. 24 in the Fort Pierce Inlet, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District announced today. Operations are ongoing to remove the wreck and its debris field, which are limiting navigation – including the dredge – in the Federal channel.
On Monday the U.S. Coast Guard announced that recreational and commercial vessels with less than 16-foot draft were allowed to transit through the Fort Pierce Inlet safety zone. The dredge associated with the shore protection project needs more than a 16-foot draft.
The Corps of Engineers issued an emergency contract to Resolve Salvage & Fire to remove the sunken barge. Resolve used sonar technology and specialized divers to assess the debris field and worked closely with the Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard to identify areas within in the Inlet with sufficient depth for vessels to pass. In addition, buoys were installed to mark the debris field to help boaters navigate safely through the inlet.
Resolve will use the salvage barge RMG-400 to remove the sunken vessel. The RMG-400 is transiting from Mobile, Ala., to Fort Pierce. Due to the size of the sunken vessel, a salvage barge with unique specifications is required to perform the salvage operation. The actual time required to perform the removal operation has not been determined. However, the U.S. Coast Guard anticipates closure of the inlet in its entirety during the actual removal process.
The Corps awarded the shore protection project contract to Manson Construction Co. Dredging and placement of sand on the beach south of the inlet began Feb. 19. Manson’s Dredge, The Bayport, dredged approximately 15,000 cubic yards of sand before departing the area Sunday, Mar. 1. Manson Construction will re-mobilize once barge salvage operations are complete and navigation restrictions in the inlet are lifted. Even with the temporary delay as a result of the sunken barge and Coast Guard draft restrictions, the Corps does not anticipate Manson having difficulty completing the project by May 2015.
The beach project will reconstruct areas of eroded beach and help reduce future hurricane storm damage. It will place more than 300,000 cubic yards of sand on 1.3 miles of eroded beach in St. Lucie County.
For more information about Corps’ projects in Florida, go to www.saj.usace.army.mil.
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