Army Corps begins repair work by laying stone that provides added protection
The Army Corps of Engineers wasted no time beginning repair work on the Port Washington breakwater after crews arrived Saturday.
The crew is laying armor stone along the lake side of the north breakwater, piling the rocks as high as the walkway, Mayor Tom Mlada told the Common Council Tuesday, and the effect could be seen almost immediately.
“The section they’ve completed already has really changed things,” he said, noting waves dissipate when striking the repaired wall. “It’s amazing to me the stone’s ability to do that.”
The stone is being placed to the top of the breakwater itself, which Mlada said will mitigate the city’s costs when it replaces the cap.
The Army Corps is expected to place 1,700 individual armor stones along the east end of the breakwater to shore it up, a total of 12,000 tons of rock.
Each stone weighs between six tons and eight tons.
But while the Army Corps’ $950,000 project was initially intended to place armor stone only on the lake side of the breakwater, crews believe they have enough stone to also shore up the harbor side of the north breakwater, Mlada said.
“They felt you get a lot of wave action from the south, and there’s such a dramatic lack of toe stone on the harbor side,” he said, noting that discovery surprised the crew.
The crew also plan to place some rock along the lake side of the south breakwater, Mlada said.
“They feel they’re going to have enough stone to do everything they want,” he said.
Mlada said he has also asked the crew to look at replacing the ladders along the breakwater.
Last year, the city raised money to replace the ladders, which are intended to allow anyone who falls into the lake to climb onto the breakwater, Mlada said.
But the fierce waves destroyed the fabricated steel ladders this winter, he said.
The Corps has not committed to replacing the ladders during this visit, Mlada said, but said that if time permits they will try to fit the work in.
To keep people off the portions of the breakwater where they are working, the crews have placed one piece of armor stone on the structure, effectively blocking it, Mlada noted.
While the Army Corps is spending close to $1 million on its share of the breakwater repair project, the city has committed to spending an equal amount on repairs expected to commence next year.
The city will likely find out next week whether it receives a $500,000 grant from the Waterways Commission for a portion of that work, Mlada said.
Image information: A CREW FROM the Army Corps of Engineers started work last weekend to shore up Port Washington’s north breakwater. Crews will place armor stone along both sides of the east end of the north breakwater as well as the lake side of the south breakwater. Photo by Sam Arendt