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The much-needed rebuilding of the public boat ramp at the south end of Ocracoke began earlier this week.
“The first step in fixing the public boat ramp is to install a cofferdam that will serve to seal off the site and allow the contractors to pump water out of the area so that they can remove the existing ramp and install the new ramp in a dry work area,” said Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent David Hallac.
The ramps were badly damaged when Hurricane Sandy struck the island in the fall of 2012. After the ramps were repaired the following year, it quickly became apparent that the slopes were off and not long enough for launching from a boat trailer. Visitors and locals complained that the slope was too shallow to float their boats before their rear trailer wheels became immersed.
Redoing the ramps was delayed until funding could be procured.
The total cost is $569,529, said John Kowlok, chief of Seashore maintenance, who is project manager.
He said that Bobby Cahoon Marine Construction of Grantsboro, Pamlico County, will build the steeper and longer ramps. Paramount Construction Group of Ridgeland, Mississippi, is the contractor, which has subcontracted the design of the project to Criser Troutman Tanner Consulting Engineers (CTT) of Wilmington.
Kowlok couldn’t provide a completion date, but the goal is to finish by May.
“It’s hard to be much more specific with the timelines, especially this time of year as a lot of the work is weather dependent,” he said in an email. “Our goal, of course, is completion as soon as possible to minimize the impact to the community and our visitors. These contractors have quite a bit of experience with this type of project and we have a lot of confidence that they will work to complete a quality project as soon as they can.”