Tenants air breakwater concerns

Published on Thu, Jun 13, 2002
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Tenants air breakwater concerns

Port tenants expressed concerns about how a proposed new breakwater would alleviate the battering Blaine harbor takes from waves whipped up by the south-east wind.

“It’ll still be wide open,” said Ted Veum of Star Fish, who watches waves break over Marine Drive from the company’s loading doors when a south easterly wind kicks up. “In a storm it comes right on in and that’s the problem.”

The new breakwater design was presented to port tenants at a May 31 meeting at the Blaine boating center. Port engineer John Hergesheimer said the breakwater configuration was designed to protect the harbor, knocking waves down to one foot during a once in 10 years storm event. “The engineers looked at that particular wave pattern and it turned out this was the best place to have the opening,” he said. He added the old breakwater has gaps where pilings have given way, diminishing its effectiveness.

Construction on the new breakwater will begin in mid-July. The contractor will build new sections of the steel sheet-pile structure outside the existing breakwater and then remove the old sections. When it’s complete, the new breakwater will be in approximately the same place as the old one with the addition of a section projecting in from the northern arm.

Renovations to the fishing pier will include replacing planking and old piles and moving Washington Crab off half the pier for more public access outside of crab season. Later renovations will lead to reopening of the landing pier for visitors and a promenade along the top of the breakwater. “It’s not in this project, but it’s in the design,” Hergesheimer said.
Some port tenants were concerned that the contractor, who will stage construction and work from two barges, could block access to the harbor. Hergesheimer said there would be no construction on weekends and holidays, and if a business or other interest needed to ensure access on a given date they should contact him.

“The biggest impact I can see is when he has to work in the entrance,” he said. “If you can tell us when you need access we can coordinate it.”

Hergesheimer said there would be no parking on the end of Marine Drive and on the fishing pier while work went on at those locations. Residents and local businesses could also expect intermittent noise as piles are driven.

“How do you rebuild this wall, do all this work and not impact anyone,” he said. “It can’t be done.”. ..

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