The port of Lorain’s outer quarry walls is getting a new stone reinforcement.
Contractor Geo. Toledo’s Gradel Co. is using white dolomite limestone to rebuild breakwaters that were damaged in October and November 2012 due to the effects of SuperStorm Sandy, the hurricane and storm system that hit New York, New England and the Midwest.
Work in Lorain began on June 11th and has a completion date of December 4th.
“They are working very hard,” said Vito Melilli, chief of the Ohio Area Office of the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The work is important to the commercial and recreational uses of the port of Lorain.
Most of the work has been done offshore on the walls that make Lorain a safe haven for boats and freighters caught in bad weather, said Rick Novak, executive director of the Lorain Port Authority. Melilli agreed.
“It is necessary that this work be done because it is a primary breakwater and protects the port of Lorain and the marinas there,” Melilli said.
On September 1, the barges that carried the giant stones and a crane with a giant claw to move them were clearly docked at the end of Lorain’s East Pier, also known as the Mile Long Pier.
The contract stipulates that around 84,000 tons of stone will be sold along the walls at a price of more than 6.72 million US dollars. The project is being paid for with funds Congress allocated for repairs due to the hurricane damage, Melilli said.
During the repairs, the stone floors of the walls are built up and covered with armored stone, the outer layer that comes out of the water and is visible.
The stones are white dolomitic limestone from Marblehead, Melilli said.
Once the stones are blasted out of the bedrock, they are sorted by size, and the shapes typically range between perfectly round and perfectly square, Melilli said. The stones weigh about 5 to 12 tons each, and the weight of the stones keeps them in place, he said.
The stones are set on top of one another so that they have at least three points of contact, but they are placed randomly to dissipate the wave energy hitting the wall of the quarry.
Melilli did not make an accurate prediction of the life expectancy of the breakwaters, but the free-standing structures in the lake lasted quite a while.
“They have a pretty good track record,” he said.
The corps will keep a representative on site while the materials are being placed to monitor compliance with the contracts, Melilli said.
The Corps also has a breakwater assessment team that reviews the condition of breakwaters and compares the structures with photos of how they have looked in years past, Melilli said.
According to the Corps, repair projects are taking place in Lorain, Vermilion, Cleveland, and Fairport Harbor.