GRAND HAVEN, MICH. - Workers attempting to make structural repairs and recap the Grand Haven pier with new concrete are running into a number of challenges.
Most of the issues delaying the $3 million, federally-funded, project are out of the workers control. High water on Lake Michigan, and waves are putting the project behind schedule. Workers are also loosing time because of high winds that are pushing waves up onto the pier.
The project was started last September, but since then, public access to the pier has been closed off.
"Waves and wind are our big enemy out here," said Tom O'Bryan, Lake Michigan Area Office at US Army Corps of Engineers. O'Bryan says the full project won't finish this fall. The water on Lake Michigan is so high waves as small as one foot are washing up into the work area.
Some days sections prepared for new concrete are covered in standing water. The lake is 18-inches over the 100-year average and it's up five inches since last month. And according to O'Bryan, wave energy from big boats is also causing problems.
"And so when any wave activity happens in this channel it overtops our structure," O'Bryan said.
On Friday, the wind and waves prevented workers from towing concrete trucks to the work site on construction barges. The new project timeline calls for workers to finish most of the job by October.
"We are probably going to finish from the shore out to the first lighthouse this year," O'Bryan said.
In the spring of next year workers will return and finish from the first lighthouse to the end of the pier -- that should be finished a few weeks before the Coast Guard Festival in 2018.
The delay on the pier may also push back the date when the catwalk returns to the pier.
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