Realignment of horseshoe channel may be approved by end of month

Published 12:03 pm Saturday, October 22, 2022

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The much-anticipated realignment of Hatteras Inlet’s horseshoe channel may be approved by the end of October.

Todd Horton, deputy chief of navigation for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District, made the announcement at the Oct. 11, 2022 meeting of the Dare County Waterways Commission.

The realignment designates the entire horseshoe route as a federal channel and, as such, opens all sectors to federal funding for maintenance dredging. Currently, for example, Dare County holds a permit for the Connector Channel.

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But Horton also said he doesn’t know how much federal funding is available for dredging this fiscal year. He will be checking Corps accounts for carry-over funding.

The Connector Channel needs attention. The Corps’ Merritt is expected to arrive around Oct. 23 to begin work.

If this federal dredge can get the channel to a seven-foot depth, then the Miss Katie, the newly-christened hopper dredge, can operate to deepen and widen the channel.

It costs $30,000 a day to operate the Miss Katie. Available funds from state and county sources total $1 million to address the dredging needs in the Connector Channel.

By resolution, the Waterways Commission is asking the Oregon Inlet Task Force for Miss Katie dredging in Hatteras Inlet’s Connector Channel after the federal dredging and after the completion of a survey at a date and length of time to be determined.

The Oregon Inlet Task Force is responsible for scheduling the Miss Katie.

The Waterways Commission was hit with another problem. The cables carrying electric power from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke run across the Connector Channel.

Horton with the Corps of Engineers reported that Tideland Electric Cooperative thinks the cables are buried 15 to 20 feet deep. “We believe,” said Horton, “the cable is much shallower.” A 100-foot buffer may be created on either side of the power lines to protect the lines from dredging.

The commission has resumed in person meetings. On Oct. 11, the commission gathered at the Fessenden Center Annex on Buxton Back Road.

The next meeting will be Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Dare County Administration Building, located at 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr. in Manteo.



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