Dredging, construction continue on Collier canal in Sebastian

By Debbie Carson, Online Editor

SEBASTIAN — Residents living along the 1-mile stretch of Collier canal in Sebastian can expect the dredging and installation of seawalls to continue for another six months. The contractor, S.E. Cline Construction Co., of Palm Coast, is close to the halfway point.

“We’re pretty happy with the progress,” said City Manager Al Minner, adding that the weather has been good and the rainy season is coming to an end.

Approximately 30,000 cubic yards of material will be dredged from the canal and recycled to use as fill for Henry Fishcher and Sons in Sebastian.

The canal runs from County Road 51 to the Barber Street Bridge near Hardee Park before the water funnels into Collier Creek. The water there travels to the St. Sebastian River before dumping into the Indian River Lagoon. Minner said that the $4.6 million dredging and seawall construction project would help to improve stormwater quality by providing more capacity for the water to stay in the canal to filter before winding up in the creek.

The canal will be dredged to an average depth of 7 feet, according to Debra Krueger, the city’s administrative services director.

The Sebastian public works project got its start in the early 2000s with plans and engineering. In 2003, the city issued storm water bonds, which will be used to fund the Collier canal project. Construction finally began in March and is expected to wrap up by March 2010.

When initially proposed, the city looked to the residents along the canal to help fund the project, according to Minner. In the end, the city went with the bonds to fund the work.

Also, the city originally planned to install riprap – pieces of limestone stacked along the sides of the canal to ward off soil erosion – because it thought seawalls would be too expensive.

However, after bidding out the project, officials found that the vinyl seawalls were not cost prohibitive and decided to go with the walls.

In preparation of the project, residents have been asked to remove docks, electrical systems and any other items within the city’s canal right-of-way.

While the canal is not navigable for boats, canoes and kayaks have been known to traverse the waterway, according to Minner.

Residents with questions or concerns are encouraged to call Sebastian’s Engineering Department at (772) 589-5330.

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