2017-12-28 / Front Page

Dredge completed

By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD/SACO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dredge Vessel Murden departed Saco Bay early in the morning, Thursday, Dec. 21. The Murden arrived Nov. 17 and docked at Rumery’s Boat Yard throughout the process of the dredge. Sean Tarpey, owner of the boatyard, said the Murden left Rumery’s on Tuesday and spent Wednesday docked at Camp Ellis. He said the Corps sent a survey vessel to inspect the dredge work and results from that should be available within the next few weeks.

Tarpey said he spoke with members of the dredge vessel crew who ran into minor issues.

“Despite the fact that large debris had been picked up, a lot of small pieces of wood on the bottom kept plugging up the dredge nozzle,” he said. “So they had to keep stopping to clean it. It was slower going than they expected.”

Tarpey said the sand from the dredge was eventually placed down river about a mile from Rumery’s, in a deep channel next to Thunder Island. He said the dredge was completed on time, but that the Murden had to leave because the river was beginning to freeze over. On the day the Murden left, Tarpey said there was about a threequarters of an inch layer of ice on the river.

In October, Grant Writer and Special Projects Funding Coordinator for Biddeford Christine Ohman said the dredge will help spur economic development in both cities along the river.

“It’s a once in a generation opportunity for us,” Ohman said. “I know people remember the dredge from 20 years ago. It’s a pretty big deal to prepare and live through it. It opens up a whole new channel of transportation using the river. We’re pretty excited about it in the economic development department. We haven’t had safe access to it in a very long time. It couldn’t have happened at a better time.”

The total cost of the dredge is projected to be between $3,800,00 and $4,200,000 and paid for entirely by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps plans to dredge between Marblehead Boat Launch and the mouth of the river in November 2018. The sand from that dredge is expected to be placed at Camp Ellis according to Ohman.

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