Stonington breakwater repairs on tap

Stonington - Work to repair damage to the east breakwater in Stonington Harbor caused by Tropical Storm Irene last year is slated to begin in the middle of December and take up to two months to complete.

While additional damage may have been done to the 108-year-old breakwater by Hurricane Sandy, Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Mike Walsh said Monday that the contractor will do as much work as it can with the $1 million allocated for the project by the federal government. During Sandy, waves could be seen swamping the half-mile long breakwater and coming through sections damaged by Irene.

"We'll go out and make the best use of the 3,000 tons of stone we have and put it in the most important places," he said. "We're trying to make the money go as far as we can."

Walsh said it is very possible that Congress could provide additional federal funding for Sandy damage and some of that could be obtained for work on the breakwater, which protects the popular harbor from wave action.

Walsh said the contractor, Blakeslee Arpaia Chapman Inc. of Branford, is obtaining its final approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers. He estimated that it will take about two months to complete the work although the contractor feels it may complete it quicker.

Tropical Storm Irene damaged several sections of the breakwater, which protects the harbor from waves.

According to the Army Corps, the project calls for replacing 3- to-5-ton stones to repair areas where the breakwater is below the authorized height of 9 feet above the mean low water mark. The last time the breakwater, which is about three-quarters of a mile south of Stonington Point, was repaired was in 1958 when 4,000 tons of stone was replaced.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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