By Stephen J. Kotz
The Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously to approve funding for dredging of the South Ferry channel between North Haven and Shelter Island when it met last month in Riverhead. But now the question is whether the work will be completed this year.
Last month’s resolution amends the 2014 capital budget and authorizes more than $2 million for the work, of which $750,000 will be reimbursed by New York State.
Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman said in a press release that state aid was available because the South Ferry is a part of Route 114, a state highway.
Shoaling has been occurring near the ferry slips for years making it difficult for the ferry to operate safely without hitting the bottom at low tide. The project has been complicated by the presence of underground utilities that stretch across the bay bottom from North Haven to Shelter Island.
At a meeting held in Riverhead on July 7, Representatives from LIPA, PSEG, Cablevision, Verizon, and Suffolk County Department of Pubic Works met with Mr. Schneiderman, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle in an effort to get the project rolling.
“We are all working together to expedite this dredging project,” said Legislator Jay Schneiderman. “The South Ferry is a critical component of our transportation system and needs to be able to operate safely.”
It remains unclear if the dredging will get done this year. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation allows a window from October 1 to January 15 for the work.