Two construction projects that are expected to cost more than $3.3 million will allow boaters greater access to the waterways of Harford and Cecil counties this year, creating potential boons for the regional economy, state officials say.

Harford County will remove more than 20,000 cubic yards of dredge material from the Bush River and Otter Point Creek, improving navigation to two popular boat ramps and a marina.

In Cecil County, the town of Perryville has hired a Maryland contractor to build a 575-foot pier, a structure that will provide 12 slips for visiting boaters.

Planners say the $2.2 million dredging project in Harford County will be completed by mid-February and that the $1.14 million Perryville pier will be finished by November.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will contribute most of the financing through its Water Improvement Fund, which draws revenue from the 5 percent excise tax that boaters pay when they register a vessel in the state.

Harford County has built a material-placement site in Perryman to receive the dredge spoil. Planners expect the dredging of the main channels, which is under way, to be finished shortly, and the spurs and marina basin are expected to be completed six weeks after that.

"Harford County is excited to see this project being done," Paul Magness of the county's Department of Parks and Recreation said in a statement. "Thousands of commercial and recreational boaters will directly benefit from this work, as it will enhance water access at the ... boat launch sites along the channel."

He said the county worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that appropriate environmental precautions are being taken.

Officials across the Chesapeake are just as excited about the Perryville pier, which will connect via gangway to a floating dock system. Area residents and visitors will also be able to observe nature and watch local events from the site, they said.

Dissen & Juhn, a Grasonville-based marine contracting company, will construct the pier.

"We view this project as an enhancement to the lower Susquehanna River trail system, an economic stimulus through increased tourism and additional water access for this riverfront community," said Perryville Mayor James L. Eberhardt.

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