Army Corps of Engineers’ repair work expected to prevent public access to structure until July
Port Washington’s north breakwater is expected to be closed for repairs beginning next week, City Administrator Mark Grams said Monday.
Signs warning residents of the pending closure were expected to be put in place later this week, he said.
The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to start replacing the cap on the steel cell portion of the breakwater next week, completing repairs it began to that area in 2014. At that time, the Corps placed new armor stone along much of the breakwater to protect it from the crashing waves.
Grams said the Corps is expected to have a work crew in town beginning April 14. Before that, he said, the Corps will drop off materials at Coal Dock Park, where they will be stored for the duration of the project.
Those materials include rebar and a machine that will mix concrete for the cap. The concrete will then be ferried to the breakwater by a barge, he said. The barge will be docked at the park during off hours.
The Corps schedule could be influenced by the weather, Grams added.
“I don’t know how cold the weather can get while they work,” he said.
The work is expected to be completed by July 3, when the breakwater will be reopened.
But it is expected to close again this fall as the city makes improvements to the western-most portion of the breakwater, known as the gateway.
The first phase of the gateway project will include improvements to the actual breakwater structure, including construction of a fishing platform and facilities to make it handicapped accessible.
The Common Council was expected to increase the city’s proposed 2016 borrowing by $100,000 Wednesday, April 6, to ensure it has the estimated $641,000 for these improvements.
The city had originally approached Ozaukee County to seek a contribution to the work, noting that Port Washington’s breakwater is used by people from throughout the area.
However, Grams said the city has dropped that effort.
“It’s too late for that,” he said, since work is pending.
The second phase of the gateway project, which the city hopes to do next year, includes improvements on the property approaching the breakwater.
This portion of the work, estimated to cost $660,000, includes such things as a boardwalk, nature area and kayak launch.
The gateway improvements would make the breakwater accessible to everyone while increasing safety and beautifying the area, officials said.
The city continues to seek funding for the second phase of the gateway project, as well as the final phase of the repair work — improvements to the far east end of the breakwater.
Mlada recently sent a letter to the Corps of Engineers asking it to provide $2 million to $3 million to complete that work.
The city has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to finance repairs to the deteriorating breakwater for the past several years.
Although the Corps of Engineers contributed the first $1 million for the repairs, the city has been working to obtain grants to pay for much of the remaining work.