DESTIN — The latest maintenance dredging of the U.S. Coast Guard Station Destin boat basin and access channel began Tuesday and is expected to be completed by March 6.
The basin stands next to the station on the west side of the Marler Bridge, and the access channel extends along most of the north side of the bridge.
“Every few years, the sand builds up in there,” Cory Palmer, senior chief petty officer and the officer in charge at Coast Guard Station Destin, said Thursday. “It’s getting dredged out so our boats can get in and out of the area better.”
Related project: East Pass area to get sand from dredging project
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is performing the dredging work, which is taking place 24 hours per day and is being paid for by the Coast Guard.
“Commercial traffic will not be interrupted by the dredging, with additional lighting at night,” Corps officials said in a recent public notice. “While recreational traffic is low during the timeline for this project, anyone concerned on how to safely pass the operation should contact the tug Kerry Ann on VHF 16 for direction.”
The boat basin has accumulated a substantial amount of sand since the last dredging in 2014, and the Coast Guard’s large vessels have been having trouble because their engines suck up sand in the shallow basin, according to city information.
In the current project, which costs more than $1 million, 10,000 cubic yards of sand will be dredged from the basin and channel. All of the dredged material will be deposited in an open-water area next to the east jetty’s finger point on the east side of East Pass.
"We tried to secure a beach placement area but were unable to due to many different constraints, including inability to guarantee sand quality," Dustin Gautney, spokesman for the Corps' Mobile District, said Friday morning an email.
This article originally appeared on Northwest Florida Daily News: Coast Guard Station Destin dredging project to help vessel navigation