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Fall finish forecasted

Alex Doty • Jun 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Federal officials say marine construction crews continue to chip away on the Grand Haven south pier repair project, and they expect it to be completed this coming fall.

“From the shoreline fence to the first lighthouse, we’ve completed demolition of the concrete cap,” said Tom O’Bryan, area engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Grand Haven office. “During that demolition, we found some structural issues.”

This required some additional redesign work by the corps and the need to order some additional materials, he said.

“We’ve redesigned it to make it good and minimize the delay,” O’Bryan said. “We’re waiting on materials and I’m hoping they’ll be back to work by next week.”

Once crews have repaired the first segment of the project, O’Bryan said the contractors can then set their sights on the second half of the project — from the inner lighthouse to the end of the pier.

“They aren’t allowed to leave too much of the structure open at a time,” O’Bryan said, noting that having the whole pier opened up could structurally weaken it in the event of a storm or strong wave action.

As of now, it looks like the pier repair project will be wrapped up sometime this fall, O’Bryan said, but it wouldn’t be before Labor Day.

What does this mean for when the restored catwalk will be replaced?

“The catwalk will be positioned to be reinstalled next spring,” said Save the Catwalk organizer Erin Turrell.

Restoration and fabrication of new catwalk bents — the arched pieces that make up the catwalk structure — is currently underway.

Fundraising efforts to pay for the work is also underway. The Save the Catwalk committee has already raised about $650,000 for the project, Turrell said.

“Right now is the time to give so we’re all set to rock’n’roll next spring,” Turrell said. “We’re completely confident as a committee that this is going to get done as soon as possible.”

She noted that a number of fundraisers have been slated for this month to help raise money for the catwalk. These events include a raffle at the Grand Haven Eagles on June 21; a presence at the Grand Haven Art Festival, June 24-25; and the Grand Haven Rotary Club’s D’Vine Event on June 29 will contribute 75 percent of its proceeds to the catwalk fund.

Turrell also noted that the committee plans to begin a “text-to-give” service for people who want to donate to the fund via text message. She added that there are about 100 donation plaques still available for people who make a $2,500 donation to the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation for the catwalk.

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