City takes action to make sure Rudee Inlet is safe for boaters

Posted at 6:51 PM, Dec 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-05 18:51:48-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - Shoaling is a recurring problem for the Rudee Inlet. But this time, city leaders say the situation has become serious.

Now they are taking action to make sure the inlet is safe for boaters.

Traveling in and out of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach hasn't been an easy task for some lately, mainly because of shoaling.

“It`s very important. I mean, this is where we make our livelihood,” says Skip Feller who is always on the water working with his business Rudee Tours.

But he says that sand has built up so much in the inlet because of significant coastal storms this fall that the channel is becoming dangerous to navigate.

“It would be tough to make it out at low tide right now. You just have to be real careful and watch it,” says Feller.

Depths have gotten as shallow as 7 feet in spots in the channel.

So when funding ran out with the Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Virginia Beach took action itself, working to award a $2.86 million emergency contract to dredge the inlet as early as next week.

While the inlet will be dredged, the biggest problem is actually in deeper waters out in the ocean, which will require the city to bring in some bigger equipment.

“The circumstances that have arisen now is the shoaling is out in the open ocean, which is an area our dredge is not certified to perform. So we`re not able to go out with our dredge and get that material, “says Phill Roehrs with the Department of Public Works.

The solution might be down in the Outer Banks-- the Dredge Alaska has completed work in the Oregon inlet.

If it isn't needed to help with the situation at the Bonner Bridge, it will travel from there to here, removing between 80,000 and 100,000 cubic yards of sand from Rudee Inlet onto the Oceanfront.