By Ruben Lowman
North Myrtle Beach residents and visitors can expect to see some work being done to the canals in the Cherry Grove section beginning this week.
The city announced that they would be conducting dredging of the sandbars in the canals, starting this Monday, at various locations along the minor channel from 53rd Avenue North, north to where the minor channel intersects with the main channel.
The section that is being dredged is just off the Heritage Shores Nature Preserve and near the Cherry Grove Park and Boat Ramp, which is a popular area for locals and tourists to go for recreational boating and fishing, as well as walking and relaxing within the preserve.
The project is allotted for up to 90 days but city officials estimate that it will only take between 30 and 60 days approxmately. The project is structured to be as unobtrusive as possible and officials said that the boat ramp, park/picnic area, fishing pier, main parking area and restrooms will remain open during the project.
The sandbar dredging project is in addition to the larger dredging that will occur over two phases, according to North Myrtle Beach spokesperson Pat Dowling. The first part took place between 2016 and 2017 and cost about $8.2 million to complete. Dowling said the second part is tentatively planned to occur around this time next year, but that could be altered.
“The Cherry Grove Dredging Project includes two dredges. The first is complete, and the second may occur in late 2022, however, that is not yet written in stone,” Dowling said.
The sandbar dredging that begins this week has been permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and city officials said it could not be addressed during the initial dredging of the Cherry Grove canals. It is expected to cost $190,000 and officials said the contract has been granted to Coastal Dredging for the project.
Dowling said the funding for the small mechanical dredge to remove the sandbars is part of the overall Cherry Grove Dredging Project.
the contractor for the mechanical dredge will be using several pieces of heavy machinery to ensure the project is completed as planned. They will be using a barge and backhoe with dump trucks that will transport the material dredged from the canals to a final location.
According to city officials, when the contractor’s barge is filled with dredged material, it will be moved to the 52nd Avenue North Cherry Grove Boat Ramp and Park, where the dredged material will be offloaded and ultimately removed to a final location by dump trucks.
Dowling said the final location for the dredged material would not be the Tidewater Spoils Basin, which was used in the initial dredging five years ago.
“The contractor will use dump trucks to haul most of the material, which is mostly sand, out to a concrete contractor’s laydown area off Sandridge Road,” Dowling explained. “And, some of the sand will be left in the overflow parking area at the Cherry Grove Boat Ramp and Park for use as fill when the city constructs a bulkhead at the end of the overflow parking lot.”