State navigation channels in the Barnegat Bay Inlet area return to navigable depths for the first time since Sandy devastated the shore.

A dredging project, which began in October of 2017 and was worked on around the clock with weather not being a factor, of the Ocean County waterways was done in December, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Many of the channels had limited access due to the poor conditions.

The nearly $9,000,000.00 project in the Forked River and Barnegat Bay restores the Double Creek Mainland, Double Creek Inlet, High Bar Harbor and Barnegat Light Stake state channels.

The DOT says many of the channels had been "shoaled" in since Superstorm Sandy, limiting boating options, emergency response and commercial vessel traffic in the area. 

These channels are go with the Forked River channels which were dredged in the late summer and fall of last year as part of a $2,500,000.00 project.

The State removed over 135,000 cubic yards of sediment collectively from the Barnegat Inlet and Forked River Complexes.

Officials say boaters in the Double Creek Mainland, Double Creek Inlet, and High Bar Harbor Channels will now be able to enjoy at least seven feet of water at mean low tide (MLW).

The 95,000 cubic yards of sediment removed from these channels was pumped to the Oyster Creek Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) in Lacey Township.

Barnegat Light Stake Channel users can now expect at least five feet of water at low tide.

The 6,000 cubic yards of material from this channel, and a small portion of the Double Creek Inlet channel, which is 90 percent sand based was distributed on the Lighthouse Beach at the request of the Barnegat Light State Park.

Boaters in the Forked River area will find that five channels have been dredged to project depth: Forked River (7 feet at MLW), Forked River Middle Branch (5 feet at MLW), Forked River Middle Branch Spur (5 feet at MLW), South Branch Spur (Elks Channel) (5 feet at MLW), and South Branch Spur (5 feet at MLW).

There was about 35,000 cubic yards of sediment removed from the channels and placed in the Oyster Creek Confined Disposal Facility.

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