The first dredging of Arklow Harbour in over 15 years will get underway in June.
The €2.2 million contract was signed today, Tuesday, April 1, in the County Buildings, Wicklow.
Plans for the dredging of the harbour were put on hold last year until the Council was granted a Foreshore Licence from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
In order for the works to go ahead the Council also had to obtain a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dump dredged soil at sea.
The permit from the EPA allows for dredging of 60,000 tonnes of material from the Turning Basin, Dock and River Channel subject to a large number of conditions which the dredging contractor must comply with.
Work on the disposal pit will commence in May and dredging the Harbour will begin in early June when the pit excavation has been approved by the EPA. A condition of the Licence is that dredging must be completed by September 30, 2014.
It is 1998 since the last dredging was carried out and this work will eliminate the necessity to do further dredging in the port for at least 15 years.
The work will be carried out by L&M Keating Ltd, a major civil engineering firm based in Co Clare.
Arklow mayor Tommy Annesley, who attended today’s contract signing, said the news shows a “great commitment to the future of Arklow Port.”
“Siltation has become a major concern for the users of Arklow Port as the river is not a self-scouring channel,” he said.
“Silt and gravel carried downstream from the upper Avoca River has resulted in reduced drafts available to ships, fishing boats and the Arklow RNLI, who can now perform their duties more safely and effectively.”