Wilmington, N.C. – The Wilmington District’s shallowdraft, sidecast dredge MERRITT is providing emergency dredging operations in the Outer Banks after the closure of the Oregon Inlet Bonner Bridge that links the mainland of North Carolina near Nags Head to Hatteras Island of the Outer Banks. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Ferry Division is running emergency ferry operations between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe, and the MERRITT is clearing the channel to the authorized depth of six feet plus two feet allowable overdepth.
“The ferries are running every hour and half,” said Wilmington District Chief of Navigation Roger Bullock. “The Dredge MERRITT is ensuring that the ferries reach their destinations with people and vital supplies to the Outer Banks. The MERRITT is dredging the channel to the authorized width of one hundred feet so the increased ferry traffic operates smoother and the ferries can pass each other safely.”
Bullock said the MERRITT arrived for work on December 7th after the NCDOT Ferry Division sent a request for dredging upon the closure of the bridge. The Wilmington District submitted an emergency declaration request to its higher headquarters at the South Atlantic Division in Atlanta, and received the clearance on December 6th. He said NCDOT is supporting the MERRITT with a barge placed outside of the channel for mooring. It’s also helping the crew with transits to and from shore. Bullock expects the MERRITT to be in the area through the end of the month.
Release no. 18-044