By Paul Silverfarb
Just as quickly as the Army Corps of Engineers entered Cos Cob Harbor in October to start a long-awaited dredging, it’s about ready to put the wraps on the project.
For Jack Karalius, project manager for the navigation branch of the Army Corps of Engineers’ New England district, the timeline was perfect. Not only will the dredging finish on time, but it might be completed earlier than anticipated.
“Things are going pretty good,” Karalius said. “We have had no problems. Dredging has been coming along. We should be done by Jan. 31, if not sooner by the end of this week.”
All that’s remaining for Coastline Consulting, the contractors for the dredging, is about one-half a dozen little shoals scattered about throughout the channel. That’s about just one scow load that needs to be taken out to the disposal site. The project is state-funded.
“We require the contractor to dredge down to minus six feet, and there’s a few little bumps that are just a tiny bit above the minus six foot plane,” Karalius said. “The weather this week has been pretty bad, so I don’t think he’s working as much as he has in recent weeks, but he’s hoping that the wind dies down and that he’s able to get those last little shoals.”
At press time, around 45,000 cubic yards of sediment had been dredged from Cos Cob Harbor. When the dredging is complete, close to 50,000 cubic yards will have been removed.
From there, Karalius and his team will come in with their surveyors and check the contractor’s surveying, traveling to different sites along the harbor and making sure that everything is at least six feet deep.
“We do allow the contractor to dredge down to minus seven feet deep, and we will pay him for that extra foot,” Karalius said. “With the contractor’s equipment, they can’t precisely get it down to minus six feet. We are hoping to do the surveying by the end of the week. Once we declare it cleared and the contractor has demobilized, we will release the contractor’s final payment to him.”
Because of the weather being iffy throughout the remainder of the dredging process, Karalius believes that the surveying could take a few days.
While people throughout Greenwich might not be thrilled with the lack of snow and cold temperatures for the past few months, the weather has been ideal for the dredging to remain on time.
“Unfortunately, we are only able to dredge during the winter months because that’s the least biological activity that’s going on in the harbors and rivers,” Karalius said. “That makes it tough for the contractors when we dredge in the winter, but so far it’s been pretty good. There’s been only a few weather delays and maybe a few days where he’s had equipment problems, but the contractor has pretty much been dredging continuously.”
And it was important for Cos Cob Harbor to be dredged. The harbor was last dredged more than 30 years ago.
“It was pretty shoaled up,” Karalius said. “The last time was back in 1985, and we actually took out 53,000 cubic yards, so we are right at that same amount this time. They should be able to get a good 15 to 20 years out of this dredging before we have to go in and dredge again.”