Merrimack River Dredging to Begin This Week

photo courtesy Army Corp. of Engineers

Dredging of the Merrimack River inlet channel and the attendant beach-nourishment project along Plum Island and Salisbury Beach are scheduled to begin Wednesday, Sept. 15. The project is expected to last 2 to 3 weeks, concluding in mid-October.

Area of Dredging Operation

According to Newburyport Harbormaster Paul Hogg, mariners should stay at least 150 feet from the anchored dredge barge, which is marked by day shapes and flashing lights at night. Hogg also notes that buoys C “5” and C “3” have been removed from the river mouth until completion of the project.

The dredging operations are largely confined to the mouth of the river between the north and south jetties.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of the dredging, said the project contractor, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. of Oak Brook, Illinois, intends to get its 330-foot dredge into the Merrimack River channel early this week.

The dredge will scour the channel and deposit an estimated 160,000 cubic yards of sand onto eroded beaches in Salisbury and the Newbury section of Plum Island, which is slated to receive 120,000 yards of sand. Beach grass will be planted on the renourished shorelines between Nov. 1 and Nov. 12.

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