CPA: Housatonic River dredging project completed

It started in October and cost $9.3 million.

As of Wednesday, a ship operated by the Army Corps of Engineers completed its dredging of the boat channel in the Housatonic River between Milford and Stratford. It was last dredged in 1976.

“We hope to maintain steady progress with similar projects going forward,” said Scott Bates, chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority — an agency responsible for coordinating and marketing the development of the state’s maritime economy.

The goal of the $9.3 million project was to deepen the river’s navigation channel. The project was finished nearly two months ahead of schedule, according to CPA.

As part of the project, 270,000 cubic yards of clean sand from the river bottom was used to rebuild the Hammonasset State Park’s eroding beach in Madison.

“The Connecticut Port Authority, in its first year of operation, has established a thoughtful system to identify and complete dredging and maintenance projects that enhance navigation and improve the use of Connecticut’s shoreline and inland waterways,” Bates said.

Stratford officials were seeking to dredge the river dating back 16 years.

Negotiations to get this done meant discussions with several agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Housatonic River spans 149 miles. Between Stratford and Milford, the Housatonic channel has an average depth around 18 feet or more, except for a few problem areas that were tackled in the dredge.