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Boaters eager to reach a cluster of marinas off the Potomac River in Prince William County might not see a waterway leading to them reopened until at least this fall, according to local leaders.

But they say rapid progress has been made on a project to dredge silt from which the Neabsco Creek channel supports dozens of local jobs and businesses, so the U.S. Coast Guard can clear it again for navigation.

Early this year federal authorities put up “DANGER” signs at points of entrance, effectively but not legally closing the channel. At only a few feet, the depth poses a risk of boats getting grounded in the creek bottom…

…Prince William County has already set aside $750,000 to help pay for the dredging, which is projected to bolster job creation along the creek as it reopens to public use next year.

The Virginia General Assembly, under pressure this year from local officials, also authorized a total of $2.6 million over the next two fiscal years on grants to the Virginia Port Authority for projects like Neabsco Creek. It’s expected that a local partnership spearheading the project will apply for a share of those funds, bringing the dredging closer to completion.

State Sen. Scott Surovell, D-36th District, said it was a team effort in the legislature to secure funding for the project…Also, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission agreed to waive about $500,000 of state remediation fees that would have been required for the project, Surovell said…

…While concerns remain about funding and how much the federal government ultimately chips in, Prince William Supervisor Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge, told InsideNoVa that the project will ultimately benefit the community, especially through commerce along the channel.

“This is very much a public/private partnership to expand the tax base … and reopen Neabsco Creek,” he said, also citing safety concerns. “Another reason why we need to dredge this creek is to improve the 911 response times to incidents on the river.”

Read Full Story: Neabsco Creek dredging likely to start this fall | Woodbridge |

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