The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should begin dredging the West Fork of the San Jacinto River next week. The Corps expected to begin dredging this week, but a part failure for one of the dredges caused a slight delay. A replacement part is being remanufactured and shipped to the command site. The replacement part will help hold the dredge in place during operations and should arrive within days.
With the exception of the replacement part, the first dredge is now virtually completed. It is 27 feet wide, 90 feet long and weighs 270 tons.
Second Dredge Also Now In the Water
A second dredge is also nearing completion. It is electrically powered and has also entered the river for final assembly. No pictures of it are available at this time. In the meantime, the rest of the operation is proceeding as scheduled.
4.5 Miles of Pipe
Workers have welded and weighted 4.5 miles – or almost 24,000 feet – of 24-inch dredge pipe made from 40-foot sections. The pipe will pump sand and sediment back to storage pits (placement sites) on both the north and south sides of the San Jacinto river. Each string of pipe is 1000 feet long. Booster pumps will connect the strings to keep sediment moving up-river and uphill.
Even though the start date has been delayed, the date for completion has not.
Dredging Safety Warning
Jet skiers and recreational boaters have been sighted in the vicinity of the dredge command site. Dredging safety officers are asking West Fork San Jacinto recreational boaters to stay clear of submerged pipes and dredge platforms.
Stay away from this section of the river for your own safety. Even though you may be able to see operators, they may not be looking out for you as they struggle to move equipment weighing hundreds of tons. Operators are focused on their job, not you.
As the operational tempo of this project increases, so will the risk of accidents. So please keep your distance.
Posted September 8, 2018 by Bob Rehak
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