Dredging efforts under way in Wicomico River

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is at work dredging the upper portion of the Wicomico River, a major shipping channel for the region which serves the port of Salisbury.

Just under 1 million tons of goods came through Salisbury last year, which is more than previous years, said Mayor Jake Day.

“I was incredibly happy to learn of an enormous increase at the port,” he said.

Salisbury is the second busiest port in Maryland, with large amounts of grain, fuel oil and aggregate coming through it on a regular basis for companies such as Perdue Farms and Cato Oil, he said.

Chesapeake Shipbuilding also uses the river to launch the small cruise ships, tug boats and other vessels it builds in Salisbury, Day said.

The river is dredged on a regular basis. The Corps divides it into thirds and each third is dredged every three years. “It’s an important federal channel,” he said.

This dredging will focus on shoaled areas in the approximately six miles of the river north from the Upper Ferry crossing to the city of Salisbury.

The dredge will remove roughly 100,000 cubic yards of material from the channel to ensure continued safe navigation along the channel, according to the Corps of Engineers.

The Corps awarded an approximately $3.4 million contract to Cottrell Contracting of Chesapeake, Va., to perform the dredging.

The work will restore the northern portion of the Wicomico River to its authorized depth of 14 feet, plus two feet of allowable over depth, and to a width of 75 feet.

The dredging is coordinated with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the material, mostly silt and sand, will be placed at a nearby Sharps Point site owned by Wicomico County.

The work is scheduled to be completed this winter.

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