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$182K Grant Gives Washington Island Funding For Dredging Studies

The dredging of Detroit Harbor off of Washington Island has additional funding to the tune of $182,700, thanks to an emergency Harbor Assistance Grant from the DOT.

Washington Island Ferry Line President Hoyt Purinton says the grant will fund more necessary engineering studies to make the project truly "shovel ready."

The 7.1 million dollar dredging application was denied in the February 2012 cycle of DOT grant requests because those questions remained unanswered and because the DOT had other more urgent issues to fund. Purinton is happy to see things moving forward, because the lake's levels are starting to make the issue quite dire.

The DOT's contribution toward the project is 80 percent of the total cost. The town of Washington is required to pay the remaining 20 percent, or $45,675. With the grant, Puirinton hopes to have all preliminary engineering completed by the end of this fall, ahead of applications for state and federal aid for the actual dredging at the start of the New Year.

The current depth of the channel is 14 feet. Three more feet of depth will make the channel safer to navigate, overcome lake level issues, and accommodate the larger size of modern-day ferries.

The channel was last dredged in 1939. The ferry began operating a year later. These days, the ferry line makes up to 25 daily roundtrips during the high season and two during the winter.


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