What Is Missing From the City’s Dredge Spoils Project?

After listening to several city presentations on the proposed dredge spoils project and after reviewing the Robin Hood Woods proposal (available for viewing at VBGov.com, word search “SSD”), I believe that there are some major missing components to the city’s project.  Deputy City Manager, Dave Hansen and Water Resources Engineer, Mr. Phillip Roehrs presented the  project’s overview at the March BAC and the SDCC meetings.  According to the plan, there will be five transfer sites throughout the Lynnhaven basin where dredge spoils will be offloaded from barges and then transferred to dump trucks to be taken to a spoils dump area near Oceana..  Residents who want there areas dredged will pay into a city “Special Service District” (SSD) fund created by those residents paying higher taxes on their property for a certain period.  So, what’s missing in the city’s proposal?

Safety management.  Placing commercial barges throughout the basin, on Long Creek, offloading at Crab Creek or by the Marina Shores proposed transfer site could present a boater congestion problem.  Who will monitor the safety of these operations?  Who will have that responsibility?  The city?  The contractor?  The Police or the Coast Guard?

Scope of the project.  The city’s presentation for just one site, Robin Hood Forrest states that phase 1 will dredge over 12,500 cubic yards of materiel from that area alone. If a tandem wheel dump truck can load 10 cubic yards of materiel, how many dump trucks will it take?  How long will it take 1,250 dump trucks to transfer the spoils to the dump site?  And that amount of spoils is only for one area, not including the other areas throughout the basin.  This project will be reviewed at four years (go/no go?), but is projected to have three cycles out to 16 years. Then, the cycles could start again. This could be a very big project.

Environmental issues.  What will major mechanical dredging do to the water quality of the Lynnhaven basin?  What will be the impact on the oyster beds, fish, crabs, and the swimmers?  Mr. Roehrs stated that the project would improve the water quality. So many people have worked so hard to rebuild the oyster beds and our water quality, it would be a mistake to destroy these efforts for the benefit of maybe just 2500 home owners (number given in Robin Hood Forest brief).

Work hours.  Mr. Hansen stated that the City Council would determine the work hours for the projects, but with so much materiel to be dredged and trucked, how can that be accomplished with just a Monday-Friday 0730-sunset schedule?

Impact on Traffic.  If N. Great Neck Road will be an exit route for the dump trucks coming from Crab Creek and the proposed Marina Shores Marina dredge spoils transfer site, how will the trucks impact morning and afternoon school traffic for the three schools (John B. Dey, Great Neck Middle, and Cox HS)?  What about impact during the construction of the new Lesner Bridge.  Traffic will already be slowed by construction, what will the dump trucks contribute?

Special Service District (SSD).  How will the SSD work for the resident who wants his property dredged, the neighbors who DON’T want their property dredged, and for the taxpayer who will inevitably get involved if there are cost overruns? Who will be responsible for the project’s expense?

Who’s spoils are who’s? If spoils are dredged from one area, but the transfer site for that area is not ready yet, where will those spoils go?  Probably go to somebody else’s transfer site?  Many people believe that if the spoils came from one area, they should be hauled from that area. Otherwise, somebody else’s spoils could become your spoils.  What would be the incentive to develop other spoil transfer sites if the city could make do with a couple or two?

Perhaps the city should take a step back, hire a reputable consulting firm to find the answers to these questions. The answers to these questions should be made public at for all of our taxpayers to become informed.  The impact on our lives, our safety, and our tax payer’s dollars will be threatened if this project is not conducted with sufficient care, concern and technical oversight.  This project should never be for the benefit of just the few at the expense of the many. I think the tax payers deserve better answers.

5 thoughts on “What Is Missing From the City’s Dredge Spoils Project?

  1. Many good points by David Williams and Ken.
    In addition, there are homeowners with families living adjacent to Crab Creek who will suffer numerous negative impacts that are listed in the BWAC report, however the city has not contacted this Stakeholder group for our concerns. The city is contacting the 2500 property owners who will benefit from the dredging, to get the SSDs in place.
    The BWAC report also does not address the larger Stakeholder group – the 154,837 visitors reported by the Lynnhaven Boat Ramp facility management to the city for the calendar year 2011. This city number includes beach-goers and shoreline fishermen, in addition to boaters.
    And bear in mind that homeowners adjacent to Crab Creek as well as visitors to the LBR currently suffer numerous negative impacts during the annual sand dredging of the Crab Creek channel. That impacts this stakeholder group of over 150,000 for 2-3 months per year.
    I am one of those homeowners. Is it reasonable that my quality of life be diminished for many more months per year to give benefit to property owners elsewhere? I say NO!

  2. WHAT IS MISSING?… In some part, COMMON SENSE – – Bridges and barges with high volume tidal flowrate are a very RISKY and poor combination!

  3. Yes they can use smaller trucks, just more of them. That would open up more city owned transfer sites, like the city park that is two doors down from house and street of Royal Palm Arch. This would reduce cost to me and my neighbors here on Buchannan creek part of the dredging. As far as the truck traffic in the neighborhoods goes, if that is such a big deal for you guys, you can help too reduce that by stopping your trash pickup, stop ordering things delivered by UPS and no more new furniture or washers dryers and ice boxes. And stop others from moving in and out of your own neighborhoods with those big moving vans.
    (Point is, how carried away do you want too get here.)
    A truck of 80,000 lbs with ten wheels has a per square inch foot print of about 1800 sq inches that’s around 44 lbs per sq inches. A 3000 lb cars (4 tires) foot print is 256 sq inches and that is 11 to 12 lbs per sq in. The point here is bigger tires (bigger foot print) less posible road damage.
    I have lived on Buchannan creek for the past 45 years and as a boy I always played fished and crabbed here where the water at low tide back then was 4 feet deep, with dead oyster beds 2 feet below the sediment of that time. My friends and I would swim and catch Chesapeake blue crabs that was as big as the ones we now have to buy. And puppy drum spot and croaker as well. It was a quality of life as a child I can only wish my children could have had.
    Now after 45 years from that childhood here on Buchannan creek there is no water at low tide and those dead oyster beds are now 4 to 6 feet down.
    The only fix we citizen and our city have to end this trajedy is to suck it up and deal with any inconvenience that any of us may contend with for the short term.
    Dredging down to the old dead oyster beds, bulkheading where ecologicaly responsible to do-so and reduce future erosion witch is part of natue that is only spead up by our civilzations activities.
    You see an adult oyster can filter 60 gallons of water a day and they have been overwhelmed from the stormwater runoff and sediment that we are all somewhat responsible for over the history of Va Beach. The removal of this sediment down to the dead beds would give oyster larva a renewed seed bed from whitch to flerish and us all to prosper ecologicaly speaking, it would save the bay.

  4. The only thing that has changed recently from the city on the dredge spoils transfer project is their continued insistance that the project is reasonable and doable. The Deputy City Manager, David Hansen stated that efficient 20 CY dump trucks would be used, but as Mr. Hansen was reminded by a non-engineer type, the use of 20 cubic yard dump trucks weighing in at a maximum of 80,000 pounds was not suitable (too heavy for residential road structure) for residential streets. Maybe he just forgot that part of the scope of the project part in his “can do” calculations. It is possible that a continuous stream of 10 CY and 12 CY dump trucks along N. Greatneck Rd. could also significantly slow traffic going and coming from the three schools in the area. These are just some of the problems associated with this project, but the city is reluctant to have an independent study of this project. Maybe, the city already knows that there are major flaws in this project and they don’t want to spend the taxpayers’ money to tell them something that they already know?


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