Carnlough harbour closed as contractors commence dredging at four coastal sites

Enough silt to fill a dozen Olympic sized swimming pools will be dredged as contractors commence work on four key coastal sites across Mid and East Antrim.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 10:52 am

The joint venture will see Charles Brand and Foyle & Marine Dredging sift around 30,000m3 of sand and sediment at Carnlough and Carrickfergus harbours and Glenarm and Carrickfergus marinas.

The project begins at Carnlough harbour, which is closed until November 19 and concludes at Carrickfergus harbour next spring

Welcoming the announcement, the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor, William McCaughey, said: “This is a huge, but necessary undertaking. We have all the confidence in our appointed contractors to get our marinas and harbours back to peak operating levels with as little disruption to boat owners as possible.

Patrick Harney and Miguel Oliveira of Charles Brand, Colin Morrison of Mid and East Antrim Council, William Brown of GDG and Ciaran Cunningham of Foyle Marine & Dredging at Carnlough harbour.

“Thanks to our consultants Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions Ltd (GDG) for their hard work to date and we are glad to see work getting underway to help improve our facilities for berth holders across the borough. We really appreciate the patience from our marina customers and boat owners as we complete this essential project.

“Council values the tourism benefits our top class facilities across our harbours and marinas bring to our coastal communities. We are committed to constantly improving our tourism offerings here in Mid and East Antrim and continue to thank the patience of our local people as we embark on this project.”

The project will require the following closures too: Glenarm Marina, November 19 – December 16; Carrickfergus Marina, December 16, 2021 – March 26, 2022; Carrickfergus Harbour, March 26 – May 17, 2022.

William Brown, principal engineer at GDG, said: “This project takes forward the feasibility study work undertaken by GDG over the course of 2020 into the construction stage in order to reinstate seabed levels at each site to previous navigable depths.

Carrickfergus Marina.

“A total volume of approximately 30,000m3 of soft seabed sediments are expected to be removed over the course of the coming seven months to provide essential maintenance of council-owned harbour and marina assets for commercial marine traffic, as well as for leisure and tourism purposes.

“GDG were responsible for the design concept, feasibility assessment, site investigation, maintenance dredging and disposal licence applications, detailed design and contract tender documents of the site works.”

Marina dredging, council explained, is essential for harbours and marinas to operate, remain safe for its users and helps protect the environment. It can also help maintain water quality as it reduces the likelihood of boat propellers agitating the ocean floor and clouding the water. Furthermore, dredging helps to improve channel depth by removing organic materials that accumulate over time inside a marina’s basin.

Patrick Harney, director at Charles Brand, said: “Dredging is basically the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, and harbours. It is a routine necessity in waterways around the Northern Ireland coast because sedimentation gradually fills channels and harbours.

Glenarm Marina.

“We are pleased to be delivering this scheme for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and look forward to commencing works shortly.”

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