Significant Inlet Dredging Work Scheduled

OCEAN CITY — The Army Corps of Engineers hopper dredge Currituck is expected to arrive in Ocean City next week for a scheduled routine dredging project around the Inlet.

Three or four times a year, the Army Corps of Engineers-Baltimore District sends the Currituck, or its sister ship Murden, to Ocean City to conduct routine dredging in and around the Inlet. The Currituck, based at the Army Corps’ Wilmington, N.C. district, is scheduled to arrive in Ocean City late next week and begin dredging operations on or about March 1, depending on weather and other variables.

The plan is for the Currituck to spend five days specifically dredging known trouble spots in the Inlet. The Inlet and other channels in and around the commercial harbor naturally fill in and are in constant need of maintenance dredging, but the problem has become more acute in recent years to the point the Inlet is often impassable and unnavigable for larger vessels on even the highest of tides.

The Currituck will spend the balance of its time in Ocean City, or about 25 days, on the continued Assateague bypass project, which removes material in and around the navigation channel with an emphasis on the ebb and flood shoals that traditionally trap sand moving southward toward Assateague. Dredged material is placed south of the inlet, just offshore of Assateague Island where it counteracts erosion.

The Currituck and its sister ship Murden arrive in Ocean City a couple of times each year to perform routine dredging projects and occasionally emergency repairs after storms. The dredge hoppers perform similar work at navigation channels all over the region and are much in demand, which makes a visit to Ocean City an important one, according to Army Corps of Engineers Corporate Communications Manager Chris Gardner.

“We’re excited the Currituck and her crew are slated to be working in Ocean City for around a month or so in this cycle,” he said. “It should be a good opportunity to get a lot of important dredging done just in time for the spring as well.”

Congressman Andy Harris (R-Md.) also praised the Army Corps for sending the Currituck in advance of the spring and summer seasons.

“I am pleased that the Army Corps will again be conducting dredging operations in anticipation of the upcoming busy summer season,” he said. “Keeping the channels open and navigable is crucial to the economy of Ocean City and I applaud the Corps for their continued efforts.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.