Wiggins pass dredging project wraps up this weekend, a week late

— A dredging project at Wiggins Pass in North Naples is expected to be finished this weekend, a week later than project managers had expected.

Managers had said last Friday that the around-the-clock work would be finished Feb. 28, but mechanical problems and then bad weather delayed the project's completion, according to an e-mail from coastal projects inspector Allen Madsen this afternoon.

The dredge's main cooling pump failed early Saturday morning. The dredging company, Subaqueous LLC, then moved its equipment to safe harbor because of forecasts of rough seas, according to the e-mail.

Crews repositioned the dredge in the pass Wednesday morning and began returning the dredge pipe to its correct position. In the meantime, a generator on the dredge burnt out. Dredging finally resumed early Thursday morning and should be wrapped up Saturday, according to the e-mail.

The equipment then will move to Doctors Pass, and if weather and equipment cooperators, a dredging project should begin there March 14. Aside from unforeseen problems, that project should be finished in 12 days, according to the county schedule.

The start of the $1.6-million project to dredge Doctors and Wiggins passes had been delayed by a bid protest and then a few equipment-related hiccups.

The project is removing shoals from Wiggins Pass that have created hazardous boating conditions and prompted the county to issue a warning to boaters in August 2008.

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