BELMAR, NJ — With the start of the prime boating season, all navigable Shark River channels are now at full depth and width — some for the first time in more than 30 years, according to state transportation officials.

The N.J. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced that all dredging work has been completed, making it easier and safer for commercial and recreational boaters to navigate these waterways situated off the Belmar Manutti Marina and leading to the entrance of the Shark River Inlet.

As part of the $7.6 million project that began in November 2015, a total of some 70,000 cubic yards of sediment was removed to open up the western portions of the Shark River Channel and Shark River Channel Spur.

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Done in partnership with Monmouth County, Belmar, Neptune and Neptune City, the project was undertaken to open up these channels to full navigational depths after being shoaled in by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The shoaling limited boating options, emergency response and commercial vehicle traffic, DOT said.

“These channels are now considered to be in a state of good repair for the 2018 boating season, and will provide access to enhanced recreational and economic activity for summer visitors and residents alike,” DOT said in a statement.

In addition to the DOT project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this past winter also performed “routine maintenance” dredging operations in the outer section of the mouth of the Shark River Inlet, where up to 35,000 cubic feet of sand was removed in several areas of recurring shoals.

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