The Demeries Creek Boat Ramp, which was tentatively planned to have been re-opened by now, remains closed. Officials are now hopeful it will be useable again by October.
"I had hoped to have it finished by the end of July, but it just took time to time to get it through the budget process," said Doug Haymans with the DNR. "Even though federal and county government is paying for it, everyone is being overly cautious due to the kind of budget year it is."
The ramp was closed in early May after being declared too dangerous due to hazardous conditions created by wear and tear over the years. Haymans said the ramp work "should be worth the wait" as it will be a vast improvement over the previous structure.
Haymans said he has received countless calls about the ramp and when the work will be done, "For the most part, people have been very understanding. One thing we all agree on is that the repairs need to be done. All you have to do is drive by and see to tell."
Alpha Construction was awarded the low bid of $100,000. A pre-construction meeting is slated for Thursday, with ground to be broken on the project shortly thereafter, according to Haymans. The county is to pay 25 percent of that, with the remainder coming from federal funds.
"We’re basically replacing the whole thing," Haymans said. "We’re only planning to keep the very top 30-40 feet of the ramp, but that could even be replaced as we go."
Haymans said the ramp was built in sections. He explained that over time, the underside of the ramp has been washed out, causing one of the 25 foot sections to drop down 32 inches. He said the one will be a solid slab as opposed to being built in sections, which should deter this from happening in the future.
Haymans said the old ramp, which dates back to at least 1954, had no underlay under it – just old stumps under it. The new one will be underplayed with a fabric liner in addition to the concrete slab underneath.
During the emergency closure of the Demeries Creek Boat Ramp, anglers are encouraged to use the Fort McAllister or Redbird Creek ramps to access the Ogeechee River. Sunbury Ramp in Liberty County will give anglers access to the Medway River.