Pacific Northwest
The ​​Marc Basnight Bridge crosses Oregon Inlet in Dare County. via NCDOT

OR - Dare County Dredge A Step Closer

Commercial and recreational fishers have been dealing for decades with the unpredictability of Oregon Inlet navigation but with the recent go-ahead by Dare County for its private partner to move on a contract to build a new hopper dredge, there may be an end in sight.

Legislation passed in 2017 to provide Dare County with funds to establish a private partnership with a company to build a hopper dredge for the state, explained Brent Johnson, project manager for grants and waterways in the county planning department.

“It was identified that there were not enough assets in North Carolina, either private assets or dredging assets under the Corps of Engineers,” Johnson said Friday in an interview with Coastal Review Online, “And so, the state in 2017 passed legislation that provided $15 million to Dare County to go and seek out a private partner to build a new dredge that would work with Dare County and the state to do shallow draft dredging in our inlets and ports.”

In May 2019, Dare County entered into a public-private partnership with the EJE Dredging, a company formed in August 2018 by recycling firm owner Judson Whitehurst and based in Greenville.

The Oregon Inlet Task Force want the dredge to be similar to the Army Corps of Engineers dredge Murden, according to a previous report questioning the decision to go with the EJE Dredging, which has never done major dredging.

Johnson said the $15 million is a forgivable loan to be used by EJE Dredging to help to build the dredge. “And in turn, they are providing us with a discounted rate of dredging.”

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