Dredging goes to 24-hour schedule

Homeowners along Newport Harbor will have to contend with the noise and lights of dredging crews working around the clock over the next two months, city officials said.

Newport Beach's harbor resources manager, Chris Miller, told the City Council on Tuesday that dredging crews wouldn't need to work every night, just nights when tides were high enough.

The crews have to finish their work by June 30, when they lose the chance to dump the dredged soil for new use at the Port of Long Beach, he said.

"We've been assured that there's space for our material," Miller said. "But I was down at Long Beach harbor today, and it is filling it up rapidly. … I'd rather not push it."

The crews can't work during low tide because a scow carrying a full load would catch on the bottom of the harbor, he said.

"The current schedule puts them through the first week in July, which is not acceptable," he said.

Councilman Mike Henn said the project was important enough to allow for some inconvenience. As crews move around the harbor, "it's unlikely that any particular area will be affected for a long term," he said.

Mayor Nancy Gardner said she asked for a schedule so that residents would know "it's going to be these three or four nights, and if you want to take your trip to Napa…"

Miller said he'd send out regular email updates on "where we're going to be, where we've been." He can be reached at cmiller@newportbeachca.gov.

The dredging project is part of a federal contract handled by the Army Corps of Engineers. The overall project is expected to cost $8.8 million, of which the city is paying $2.5 million.

Federal funds cover $4.3 million, the county is expected to pay about $1 million, and the final $1 million hasn't yet been funded, Miller said.


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