VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Lynnhaven Inlet Federal Navigation Channel is fully navigable, after a $2 million maintenance dredging project, managed by the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, removed critical shoaling conditions exacerbated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The project, contracted to Southwind Construction Corporation, a small business based in Evansville, Ind., came in ahead of schedule and within budget, said Andy Reid, Norfolk District’s contract office representative.
The maintenance dredging also featured beneficial reuse and placement of approximately 112,000 cubic yards of sand on 6,500 feet of shoreline, from the Lynnhaven Inlet to a nearby neighborhood along Chic’s Beach in Virginia Beach.
“The city of Virginia Beach is extremely pleased with Norfolk District’s performance on this contract,” said Phill Roehrs, P.E., Virginia Beach’s water resources engineer. “The vital waterway serving the basin was cleared of all shoaling, and the sand removed from the channel was placed on one of our erosional shorelines to provide replenishment. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Lynnhaven Inlet annually undergoes maintenance dredging to combat critical shoaling. However, due to Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the Virginia Beach coastline, shoaling conditions worsened and required accelerated dredging, said Kristin Mazur, Norfolk District’s project manager.
“Surveys identified critical shoaling in the entrance channel, turning basin and side channels of the project,” Mazur said. “This shoaling, if left alone, would have adversely impacted a wide variety of maritime industry, and threatened safe and efficient navigation.”
The project typically requires full-maintenance dredging cycles about every three years.
Lynnhaven Inlet Federal Navigation Channel, which was authorized by the River and Harbor Act of Oct. 23, 1962, is located on the Chesapeake Bay, within the city of Virginia Beach. The navigation project provides access to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean for commercial fishing vessels, charter fishing boats, head boats and a wide range of private recreational vessels.
The channel is used by the pilot boats for both the Virginia and Maryland pilot stations based inside the inlet to transport pilots from their dock to deep-draft ships entering the Chesapeake Bay.