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Date of Issue: June 24, 2009

Holmes Beach dredging under way

A dredging operation in Holmes Beach involves separating sand from water. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

Dredge work continues in Holmes Beach in an effort to improve navigation in the city’s canals.

Last week, Piedroba Marine Construction dredged near the city boat ramp and did so without delaying boaters heading out for summer fishing trips.

The dredging will “allow for navigation of 99 percent of vessels, even at low tide,” said Joe Duennes, superintendent of Holmes Beach public works department.

The city is paying Piedroba $277,272.80 to dredge eight canals, including three on Key Royale and the others in north or central Holmes Beach. The dredging cost per canal ranges from $39,435 to $4,426, depending on the volume to be cleared.

The canals in Holmes Beach were constructed in the 1950s, and city officials said they have not been dredged until work began in recent years to clean them out.

When the 2009 work is completed, there will be just one canal — HB-21 on Harbor Lane — to be dredged, possibly in the 2010-2011 budget year, depending on available funds.

After completing work at the boat ramp, Piedroba’s next jobs would be to clear out the Key Royale canals, said project manager Eric Aiduck.

The company is not storing dredge spoil on the Island. Two years ago, spoil stored near the public works building at  Flotilla Drive and 62nd Street generated citizen complaints and prompted the city to install some fencing and landscaping for the staging area.

Piedroba is required to haul away the dredge material.

The company is using machinery that separates spoil and water, then pumps water back into the canal and pumps dried spoil into sandbags that are loaded into a truck and hauled away.

Aiduck said some of the spoil will be used in other areas for shoreline renourishment and also for road fill.