Reconstruction at Skidaway Boat Ramp Drags On

Hitting the water anytime soon? You'd better plan where you're going to put in. A popular Skidaway Island boat ramp has been closed for months, and many want to know what's taking so long to fix it. Boaters have grown impatient. The ramp was closed for repairs back in February. Now, boating season is here and the ramp is still shut down.

This past Memorial Day weekend, the public boat ramp at Skidaway Narrows was a little crowded. Just ask boater Ricky Holland. "There were 30 boats here and there's not enough room for all of them and it's dangerous," he told us.

Holland says, from boats to jet skis, the boat ramp traffic was chaos. Right next to it, a second boat ramp sits, still under reconstruction. "They have equipment sitting there for the last two months," Holland said.

Among other problems with the ramp, vehicles would slide into the river because the ramp was not stable. The project has been going on since February and even county officials admit it's taking longer than expected. "We're going to take the time to do it correctly, and we want it done right," said Chatham County commissioner Jeff Rayno.

Rayno says the county opted to do the work rather than contract out. He admits it might be taking too long to suit boaters, but suggests the boat ramp should be open by the next big holiday. "It should be done by July Fourth," he told us.

Holland's not holding his breath. He says even if they fix one boat ramp, there are question marks surrounding the one boaters are using now.  "Wondering, are they going to finish this one and fix that one?" he asked. "What's going on?"

Rayno claims Chatham County has put boat ramps on a high-priority list. They have several other boat ramp projects coming up.

Holland would like to see a third boat ramp added to Skidaway Narrows, along with a second dock. But, all eyes will be on July 4 to see if the current boat ramp project is done in time for the big holiday weekend.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com