Crewboat Cut channel authorization still in process

By GEOFFREY STOUTE

MORGAN CITY — A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans District official stressed to the Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District that he is confident that the final hurdles for redesignating Crewboat Cut as the authorized channel to the Gulf of Mexico will be complete soon.

Mark Wingate, chief of the Corps’ projects and restoration branch for the New Orleans District, told commissioners that the main concern is the cost allocation for the rock that will be used to armor private lands and prevent erosion. It has been outlined in the project as an expense covered entirely by the federal government.

“There were just some questions to make certain there is no local responsibility in terms of the cost share,” Wingate said.

He said the Corps would spend the next two weeks working on technical issues with port Executive Director Jerry Hoffpauir to resolve any problems, which Win-gate said he is confident can be addressed.

“I’m confident we’re going to get there, and I think we’re going to be there shortly,” he said of approving the project.

Currently, the report is scheduled to be sent back, with the additions, for final review in late August or early September.

In other dredging news, Wingate and Corps’ New Orleans District representative Anh Nguyen announced that the port’s plans to con-duct agitation dredging trials can be included on the current 60-day dredging contract in the Atchafalaya Bay and Bar Channel, if enough funding can be found for it.

Boosting that effort is the bids for the work in that area came in at $2.52 million, which was below the ex-pected cost, meaning as many as 30 days can be extended to the 60 day project if that much funding is available.

Jonathan Hird, project manager for Moffat and Nichol, the company hired to conduct the port’s agitation dredging trials, said the trial could be complete within that 30 day period.

He said plans are to drag a beam, roughly 40 feet long, along the bottom of the waterway in the heavily silted areas for a ½-mile stretch. He said the entire waterway in this ½-mile stretch will be dredged and then survey crews will follow immediately to take note of changes. Surveys also will be done a ½-mile downstream and upstream from the site of the dredging to record any changes.

Surveys also will be completed once a week following the initial dredging until these areas silt up again and require more dredging.

Using whatever extra funding is available, Nguyen said plans are to dredge Horseshoe Bend, among other areas.

In his report, Hird also said there is potential to test a more sophisticated technique, Water Injection Dredging, because a piece of equipment used in this process is being constructed locally at Conrad Industries.

If the port can use the equipment next spring during its dredging trials, all it would have to fund is the accompanying surveying costs.

While no funding is avail-able for them, scopes of work and cost estimates for other agitation dredging techniques will be compiled.

In ongoing emergency dredging following the high water from this spring, Nguyen said that the Mike Hooks is completing the dredging projects in Berwick Bay and the Atchafalaya Bar and Bay Channel. The Berwick Bay dredging contract is for approximately $1.42 million and started two weeks ago. The Atchafalaya Bar and Bay Channel project began Monday.

She said the upper areas of the bay do not have to be dredged.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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