Dredging plans move forward for Murrells Inlet - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Dredging plans move forward for Murrells Inlet

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) – Dredging the Georgetown Port has been put on hold, as another item jumps to the top of the to-do list.

According to Jackie Broach, a spokesperson for Georgetown County, the estimated cost of the dredging project for the port nearly doubled. That has set back the plans as the county works with the Army Corps of Engineers to re-evaluate the project.

Broach said with the mill closing, they will look to see if the need is the same for deepening the water levels, if they could do less depth in different areas, and other ways to cut costs to make the project feasible.

In the meantime, the county will focus its efforts on dredging Murrells Inlet. At this time, Broach said it is in the preliminary planning phase. There will be engineering and design studies along with researching possible spoil sites.

The county hopes to have the spoils site complete by August of 2016. This is essentially where the material dredged out of the inlet will go sit and settle so it can then be used for beach re-nourishment.

Currently, an environment impact study is underway which should wrap up next spring.

Broach expressed that the project ‘needs to be done.’ Why? Primarily for boat draft. It is very similar to why the port would need to be dredged but on a smaller scale. It is becoming more and more difficult for boats to navigate the inlet.

She admits the county is receiving calls from neighbors concerned about the smell and sight of crews pulling out the pluff mud. At this time, the exact area which will be dredged has not been determined.

However, Broach expects it will be mostly the main channels.

The bulk of the project should be done between October 2016 and March 2017.

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