North Channel dredging could start in spring
The Island's North Channel could be dredged as early as the spring so Bermuda can accommodate a new era of supersized cruise liners.
The specialist work will be carried out during the 2015 cruise season in between calls by ships so the schedule is not disrupted, The Royal Gazette understands.
The cruise line Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has been in talks with Government over helping to finance the costs of the work that will continue through the summer and enable RCI's new Quantum class liner to dock in Bermuda.
The aggregate dredged up from the seabed could also be used as part of the plans to build a marina and America's Cup village in Dockyard.
Meanwhile, the South Channel is expected to remain untouched by the dredging operation.
The Department of Works and Engineering and Tourism Development and Transport would not comment on what proposals for dredging had been adopted. A series of surveys have been undertaken over the past 12 months with a view to accommodating a new era of larger cruise liners.
In September, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works told The Royal Gazette: “We are still awaiting the final environmental impact study, which includes a plume study which is being conducted concurrently. Once the necessary studies are completed, a Request For Proposals would be initiated to get pricing for actual dredging and reharvesting of corals.
“At that time we will be in a position to further advise the public of the progress.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport and Tourism Development added: “We do not anticipate that the dredging work will negatively impact next year's cruise ship schedule.” At the beginning of 2014, Public Works announced it had awarded Bermuda Environmental Consultants the contract to carry out the Environmental Impact Assessment to look into widening one of the shipping channels. The Ministry said it would look into three options: realign the North Channel; upgrade the route of the South Channel or realign the South Channel.