Newport Harbor dredging gains more time

With one deadline missed, Newport Beach officials now have until June to get the next phase of the city's harbor dredging project underway.

Material scooped from areas near the south side of Lido Isle, the north side of Balboa Island, West Coast Highway, the Coast Guard Station and other areas was to be transported for disposal to the Port of Long Beach by March 14.

However, that deadline was missed due to complications, Harbor Resources Manager Chris Miller said.

One glitch, he said, involved the Army Corps of Engineers not being able to award the $6.5-million project to a contractor in time for the deadline.

The new deadline is June 30.

If the Army Corps identifies the contractor this week or early next, "then we've got a lot of breathing room to get all that material to the port," Miller said.

A contractor has been identified, but the contract will not be awarded for another couple of weeks, said Greg Fuderer, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles Division.

The name of that contractor cannot be revealed until the contract is awarded, he said.

"We anticipate being able to transfer all that material agreed on by the city and the Port of Long Beach by the June 30 deadline," Fuderer said.

The delay was caused when it was realized that the federal funding would only cover about $4 million of the project, and the city would have to cover the rest.

A new memorandum of understanding had to be drafted between the city and the Army Corps, which took time, Fuderer said.

About 350,000 cubic yards of silt and mud were targeted late last year for removal from the harbor, which had not undergone a major dredging since it was built in the 1930s, according to Daily Pilot achieves.

Initially, the project was to be completed before the boating season began, but now dredging will occur through the heart of summer and possibly through its end, Miller said.

"I'm very sorry about that and apologetic to the harbor community," Miller said. "I'm going to do my best to coordinate with everybody to minimize the impact."

During the dredging of the Rhine Channel last year, Miller reached out to the community in-person and via email updates, which can be subscribed to through

The Rhine Channel project was completed in November, a month ahead of schedule.

"I think we can get through these growing pains together through 2012," Miller said. "It's just one of those things everyone is going to have to be patient with, and I apologize for that."

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