The town of Oak Bluffs learned Friday that the federal government has approved funding to dredge under the Little Bridge at Sengekontacket Pond.

The funding approval comes after a long quest by Oak Bluffs to receive federal money to fix the sand-filled channel; sediment has been piling up under the bridge since Hurricane Sandy. The inlet that once exchanged water between the ocean and the pond has completely closed, posing potential environmental problems. The news capped a week during which selectmen had begun discussing other options in case the funding did not come through in time for the dredging season.

Town administrator Robert Whritenour said Friday that he got a call Friday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency stating that they approved the project and are obligating $385,000 towards the project. Mr. Whritenour said he does not yet have the contracts.

“It’s been a long haul so we’re very happy,” Mr. Whritenour said. He said the town has been in close contact with the winning bidder for the project and he is confident that the dredging will be completed by the current dredging window, most likely by early January.

The federal government will cover 75 per cent of the costs of the project, with the town expected to pay the remaining 25 per cent.