Ponce Inlet, FL - The green light has been given for a new project which should make the Ponce de Leon Inlet safer for boaters and provide more erosion protection for Volusia County's coastline.
Starting this August, an eight-month fully hydraulic dredging project will begin over navigable parts of the inlet and the Intracoastal Waterway, moving around 500,000 cubic yards of material and putting the depth of the water in those areas at approximately 12 feet.
"The United States Army Corps of Engineers is funding the project and awarded the contract to Cavache [Incorporated] of Pompano Beach," stated county spokesperson Kate Sark. "Ponce de Leon Inlet has not had maintenance this significant in over 10 years."
All that material - mostly sand deposited from hurricanes Matthew and Irma - will be piped from the inlet floor and placed on New Smyrna Beach about 1.6 miles south of the inlet using an existing pipeline sleeve at Sapphire Road and Grayce Barck North Beach Community Park.
During a recent interview with WNDB's Marc Bernier, Volusia County Council member Deb Denys says the dredging should strengthen the shoreline during future storms while making it easier for boaters to get in and out of the inlet.
"It's difficult, even with a pontoon boat, trying to get around some of those shoals," Denys added.
The Army Corps of Engineers also plans to remove another 10,000 or so cubic yards from the waters near the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Ponce Inlet and drop it in the Rose Bay disposal area, according to spokesperson Susan Jackson.
"Consolidating these dredging projects is anticipated to result in a cost savings of $1.5 million," Jackson noted.
The total cost to taxpayers should be around $8.55 million, per Jackson.