Dredging project back on track after delay from Hurricane Matthew

Dredges being used in Cherry Grove dredging Project
Dredges being used in Cherry Grove dredging Project

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Cherry Grove dredging project is now underway, both dredges have arrived and been launched into the water.

The dredges were supposed to be in place earlier this month but were delayed by Hurricane Matthew.

As a precautionary measure SCDOT had stopped the trucks carrying the dredges at the South Carolina/Georgia border, to make sure the roads and bridges could handle the load after all the flooding.

The dredges were cleared to move on Friday and crews began assembling them as soon as they arrived.  A large crane was used to launch the dredges and small barges carrying large booster pumps.

About 16,000 of the 20,00 feet of pipeline that is needed is for the project has already been installed, but there is still work to do before the pumps are switched on.

“The next major thing we have to do is go under Little River Neck Road with some casings so that we can thread the pipeline through and it can finally get to the spoils basin,” said North Myrtle Beach city spokesperson, Pat Dowling.

Work on Little River Neck Road is getting underway on Monday, officials said it would not impact traffic on the road.

Getting to the dredging stage has not been an easy process; the city had been working on plans for 15 year.

Some homeowners in Cherry Grove were upset because only people living along the canal are paying for the project.  They have to pay $2,400 a year over ten years.

There were threats of lawsuits that would have delayed the project, but none ever materialized so things moved forward.

People who live in the area said they have been following the project closely, and while some still believe the cost of the project should have been shared by the whole city, they’re glad to see things underway.

“I think it’s a great thing because it will clear the channels out.  I think it will be a job well done because these guys are incredibly professional.  Watching them just handle the equipment, they’ve done this before” said Chuck Billing who owns a home on the Cherry Grove canal.

Dowling said they should start actually moving material, the first week of November.  It will be done 12 hours a day, from 7am until 7 pm.