Dredging of waters at Pier 2, Berth 2 at Ocean Gateway is expected to begin any day now, said Dwight Doughty, Maine DOT, Environmental Division, Manager, following a public hearing late this afternoon before the Harbor Commission in Portland. The permit was granted with no oppposition to it.
Commissioners okayed the state’s application to dredge the water to insure that large cruise ships will be able to dock at the new year dock with no concern about water depth. Last September the Caribbean Princess left the megaberth early over concerns that the water was too shallow for the ship to safely remain at Pier 11. The city is trying to attract larger cruise ships to Portland which would necessitate deeper waters at the dock.
The deadline for the dredging is April 9th and that deadline was set by NOAA. There is a window of opportunity between November and April 9th during which the dredging can happen. That is the time during which the impact on marine resources is minimized. Several weeks ago, dive teams came in and removed all the lobsters for a two week period in the area and removed them to another location on the coast.
The estimated cost of the dredging project is $280,000. to be paid for by the State.