Wildwood Channel Complex Dredging Project Underway
In a bid to enhance navigation safety in the coastal regions of Wildwood, North Wildwood, West Wildwood, and Middle Township, Cape May County, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has launched the Wildwood Channel Complex dredging project.
This $9.7 million endeavor, helmed by NJDOT’s contractor, Mobile Dredging & Video Pipe Inc., aims to restore channels to a safe and navigable depth.
The channels set to undergo dredging include Beach Creek 1, Beach Creek 2, Ottens Canal Channel, Ottens Canal Lagoon Channel, Ottens Harbor Channel, Post Creek, and West Wildwood Channel.
Dredging operations, initiated in late October, are expected to conclude by April 2024, working tirelessly on a 24-hour/7-days-a-week schedule.
The project encompasses a comprehensive approach to rejuvenate these waterways, ensuring depths ranging between 5.5 and 12.5 feet.
The primary objective of the Wildwood Channel Complex dredging project is to enhance navigation safety. NJDOT recognizes the importance of maintaining water channels at appropriate depths to accommodate vessels of various sizes.
Those who have been traveling the Wildwoods back bays would know that at low tide, there are some areas that have too low of a level to cross safely.
By removing fine sand and silt from these channels, the project not only facilitates safe navigation but also mitigates the risk of boating incidents.
During the project’s duration, the affected area will remain closed to the public to ensure the safety of both maritime and construction activities.
The DEP and NJDOT waited until the off-season as to not interfere with much of the summer traffic we experience.
NJDOT emphasizes the importance of caution for boaters in the vicinity, urging them to be mindful of the ongoing dredging operations.
The public is advised to stay informed about channel closures through the Local Notice to Mariners, with State Aids to Navigation (ATON) being temporarily removed as needed.
Mobile Dredging & Video Pipe Inc. will utilize a pipeline to transport the dredged material to geotextile bags at several permitted sites. To guarantee safe navigation during this process, the pipeline will be clearly marked with buoys and lights.
This does mean there will be floating pipes in the waterways. These pipes are very similar to the ones that are seen in Cape May Harbor.
Additionally, the dredged material will be transported to a permitted beneficial use site via trucks once it has been sufficiently dewatered.
Boaters are advised to exercise caution in the area, steering clear of construction zones, including dewatering sites, and refraining from approaching project-related equipment such as dredges.
NJDOT emphasizes that the success of the project depends on the cooperation of the public in adhering to safety guidelines.
In a press release, NJDO said that The Wildwood Channel Complex dredging project exemplifies the state’s commitment to infrastructure development and maritime safety. Beyond its immediate benefits, this initiative contributes to the long-term resilience of the region’s waterways, supporting both recreational and commercial maritime activities.
As NJDOT advances in completing this project, both boaters and residents can anticipate safer and more navigable waters along Cape May County’s scenic coastline in the upcoming summer.
The Wildwood Video Archive kayaked the back bays of Wildwood Crest this past summer and filmed the entire experience. Check it out below.