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Wilmington District and Dredge Currituck Assist with Boulder Removal in Connecticut

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District dredge Currituck and vessel Snell worked in Connecticut, removing boulders in the navigation channel too large for the New England Division dredges to handle. (Photo by Hank Heusinkveld, Corps of Engineers)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District dredge Currituck and vessel Snell worked in Connecticut, removing boulders in the navigation channel too large for the New England Division dredges to handle. (Photo by Hank Heusinkveld, Corps of Engineers)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilm-ington District and the dredge Currituck came to the aid of the New England Division, which called upon the district to remove boulders in the Narragansett Bay in Connecticut, which were posing navigation hazards.

The New England District is typically re-sponsible for maintaining the bay, but its pipe-line dredge couldn’t handle the boulders. The Wilmington District brought the split-hull hop-per dredge Currituck, and the multi-purpose ves-sel Snell with an 80-ton deck mounted crane.

Overall, the Currituck and Snell removed approximately 1,400 cubic yards of rock and sand from the navigation channel at Elihu Is-land Channel in Stonington, Connecticut, and placed it offshore of Sandy Point Island.

The Snell and Currituck worked in tandem to remove boulders weighing up to 15 tons. Don-nie Potter, chief of physical support branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District, said first a thin layer of sand went into the Cur-rituck’s hopper to protect the hull. Then, the Snell retrieved boulders with its hydraulic claw, and placed the boulder on the Currituck. The boulders were dropped at the beach in about 25 feet of water.

The dredge Currituck works mainly in shallow-draft channels along the Atlantic Coast. The seagoing, special purpose dredge has a steel construction, two CAT 3406E, 450 hp diesel engines with twin Holland Roerpropeller outboard propulsion units. The vessel was built in 1974 by Barbour Boat Works in New Bern, North Carolina, and the Corps converted it to a dredge in 1977. It has a 315 cubic yard capacity with 484 gross tonnage capability.

Potter said the Currituck was needed for this project because the vessel needed to be large enough to carry the weight of the boulder and shallow enough to get into the channel. In some areas, the depth was less than six feet, he said. 

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