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    Sunday, October 02, 2022

    Connecticut Port Authority obtains one of two needed permits for State Pier

    The Connecticut Port Authority on Monday received a long-awaited state permit that authorizes major work at State Pier in New London.

    The permit authorizes a partial demolition of an existing pier, dredging, construction of bulkheads and the use of dredged material to fill in more than 7 acres between two existing piers.

    The permit, dated Aug. 13, was issued by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Bureau of Water Protection & Land Use. DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes ruled in favor of issuing the permit earlier this month over objections of former State Pier tenant DRVN Enterprises, whose arguments had delayed the process.

    The port authority still awaits a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers but improved its chances of obtaining that permit last week when it signed a memorandum of agreement with the Army Corps and Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office to fulfill an obligation to document the historic Central Vermont Railroad Pier, the older of the two piers at the State Pier facility.

    "The content of the state permit is as anticipated. We remain hopeful that the federal permit will be in hand by month's end,” CPA Executive Director John Henshaw said on Monday.

    The DEEP permit allows for demolition of portions of what is known as the Admiral Harold E. Shear State Pier to support construction of a heavy-lift area to accommodate larger vessels carrying offshore wind turbines. The two piers are to be merged to create a larger central wharf for storage and assembly of turbines and eventually other cargo.

    The $235.5 million construction project is being jointly funded by the state and offshore wind partners Ørsted and Eversource, which also will lease the pier when work is completed.

    The permit allows for 400,000 cubic yards of dredged and fill material over a 7.4-acre area between the piers to create the central wharf area. DEEP issued a set of conditions that includes a host of reporting requirements and sets limits on when work can be conducted to protect wildlife. For instance, portions of the work are prohibited between June 1 and Sept. 30 to protect spawning shellfish. Other work is to be done in accordance with a plan to mitigate interference with a peregrine falcon nesting nearby.

    g.smith@theday.com

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