South Bethany dredging under way


The Assawoman Canal and the beaches aren’t the only places in Sussex County going through changes right now. The town of South Bethany started their canal dredging project 10 days ago, after frigid temperatures finally ratcheted back up.

dredging: Dredging in the canals in South Bethany has begun. Officials reported that the project is on schedule and should be done by early April.Coastal Point • RYAN SAXTON
Dredging in the canals in South Bethany has begun. Officials reported that the project is on schedule and should be done by early April.

“There are two things going on at the same time,” said South Bethany Town Manager Melvin Cusick. “There’s a pre-dredge survey under way and dredging taking place at the canal ends.”

Once the survey is completed, which was projected to take 10 days, dredging will commence through the rest of the canals, as needed. Following the completion of the dredging, a post-dredge survey will ensure that the appropriate areas have been addressed and tended.

Weather has played a factor in a number of efforts leading up to the South Bethany project. Bitter temperatures, driving rain and powerful gusts of wind have inhibited some progress, although Cusick assured citizens that the project is on schedule.

“We have allotted 60 days for the project,” he said, “and everything is still right on time.”

Last week, dredging began at the ends of the canals along York Road. Mid-week, the project had moved to those between Peterson and Canal drives.

“Eventually,” Cusick added, “they’ll move over to Route 1 and fix up those canals that stretch out there.”

Several people have been inquiring about the spoils from the dredging.

“A pipe,” said Cusick, “is carrying everything out of the canals and over to the dredge pool site in the Assawoman Wildlife refuge, off of Double Bridges Road.”

It’s the same pipe, incidentally, as the one that is servicing the Assawoman Canal dredging project.

For the South Bethany canal dredging, the town entered a design-build agreement with engineering firm Duffield Associates for survey work and dredging.

“We haven’t had any problems,” Cusick said. “The dredge itself has an enclosure on it, so they’ll be able to keep working through some rain. We hope to be done with all of it by early April.”