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Dredging set to start on South Florida canal

Dredging begins next month on the Dania Cutoff Canal and that could mean more money coming into South Florida.

After nearly 15 years of planning and permitting, the $6.5 million yearlong project will deepen the canal's water to allow massive megayachts passage to inland shipyards. There they will undergo service jobs that could last weeks or months, cost millions and compete with other repair facilities around the world, the Sun Sentinel newspaper reported.

The dredging of a mile-long stretch of the canal is part of an areawide waterway dredging plan that a study shows will boost the economy of Broward and Palm Beach counties by $18 million a year.

The project will deepen the canal from 10 feet to 17, giving megayachts access to a half-dozen shipyards along the waterway. Repair or maintenance work on such yachts can cost from $2 million to $10 million, said David Roach, director of the Florida Inland Navigation District, the major funder for the project.

Previously the larger megayachts couldn't motor to the shipyards because of the canal's shallow draft.

The dredging will extend from Port Everglades to just east of the U.S. Route 1 bridge. It's the first phase of an overall dredging project for waterways in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The second phase, to last about two years, will involve dredging the Intracoastal Waterway from Port Everglades to the Las Olas Boulevard Bridge.

“They're going to be able to bring in more and larger boats to the [Fort Lauderdale] Boat Show,” Roach told the newspaper.

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