BELMAR, NJ — Completion of the dredging of the Shark River channels situated off the Belmar Marina will bring the start of another dredging project at the entrance of the Shark River Inlet.
Since early September, the N.J. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been removing 102,000 cubic yards of sediment to open up the western portions of the Share River Channel and Shark River Channel Spur to full depth and width, making it easier and safer for commercial and recreational boaters to navigate those waterways.
That work — the second phase of the $7.6 million project launched in 2016 by DOT after nearly two decades of delays and interruptions — will be completed on time by December 31, according to DOT spokesman Stephen Schapiro.
Beginning on January 2, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will station its dredge Murden in the outer section of the mouth of the Shark River Inlet, where up to 35,000 cubic feet of sand will be removed in several areas of recurring shoals — the 18-foot-depth channel and basins, and the 12-foot depth channel, according to William Vanterpool, project engineer for operations in the corps’ New York District.
The sand will be placed on the Avon-by-the-Sea side of the inlet in a temporary 2- to 4-foot berm situated in 14 feet of water, the corps reported.
The 15-day pumping project is part of the corps’ ongoing maintenance of the inlet, which is required to keep the waterway at depths that permit the safe passage of marine traffic. This area of the inlet was last dredged in July 2015 at a cost of $840,000, according to a corps "Federal Navigation Channel Maintenance and Stewardship" fact sheet on the Shark River.
In 2013, the corps completed a beach replenishment project along Belmar’s 1.3-mile oceanfront, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.