Council OKs $30,000 breakwater fix

Money will cover armor stone but walkway, railing still need to be repaired

A GAP IN THE walkway at the gateway to the north breakwater was checked out by officials from the City of Port Washington, including Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven, and TP Concrete. A roughly 10 foot stretch of the concrete walkway was pushed out of its frame during a Jan. 11 gale, and the gateway undermined. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday took the next step in fixing the north breakwater, which was damaged by high winds and ferocious waves during a Jan. 11 gale.

Aldermen on Tuesday approved spending as much as $30,000 to place armor stone along the breakwater gateway.

The work will be done by TP Concrete, which will be paid on a time and materials basis.

Each of the stones will be one to three tons, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said, and TP Concrete will be placing about 340 tons of rock along the breakwater. It will cost about $25,000 for the armor stone and $5,000 for the company to put the rocks in place, he added.

The work could be done as early as next week, depending on the weather, Vanden Noven said.

The armor stone is needed to further protect the gateway after the waves displaced the riprap in the area, Vanden Noven said.

The waves also undermined a portion of the gateway — TP Concrete filled areas that were undermined with 36 cubic yards of concrete slurry last week — and lifted a 10-foot section of the gateway from its frame and into the water.

The city still needs to replace the slab, but the city’s breakwater consultant, Foth Infrastructure and Environment, is looking into why the damage occurred. 

Depending on whether it is determined to be a design or construction flaw or a result of extreme weather will determine who pays for that work.

Vanden Noven said the city’s goal is to have all the repairs done “by Memorial Day if not sooner than that.”

In debating whether to place the armor stone, Ald. John Sigwart questioned why, even if the solution seems to be the right one, the city would do the work before hearing from Foth.

“Our design engineer has not made a formal recommendation on what we should do,” he said. “If this was such a good idea, maybe it should have been there in the first place.

“Let’s make sure this is the right fix according to our design engineer ... or is there something else that should be done in conjunction with this?”

Vanden Noven said the company’s engineer has said this work is the right thing for the city to do.

Addressing Sigwart’s concern that the design may have been to blame and the repair work might “usurp their responsibility,” City Attorney Eric Eberhardt said that isn’t the case. That question and the repair work are two different issues, he said.

Ald. Mike Gasper said not all the damage to the breakwater was done by the January storm, noting the slab that was displaced by the gale had shown signs of damage in fall.

Aldermen on Tuesday were also told that the city isn’t likely to receive a $750,000 grant they have been hoping would pay for repairs to the far east end of the breakwater.

City Administrator Mark Grams said that although officials like the project, it likely won’t qualify for the grant because it isn’t fixing a structural issue but instead repairing an amenity to the breakwater.

“It doesn’t look like we’re going to get it,” he said.


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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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