Raising the pier for global warming?

Mark Brooky • Dec 19, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Bobby of Spring Lake asked, “How many inches/feet of additional elevation is planned in the resurfacing of the south pier to account for rising sea levels due to global warming?”


The pier’s elevation will be raised a bit, but not exactly for global warming theories.

“The structure will only be raised in elevation by about 4 inches, and that will just be in the center as we plan to crown the new concrete to slope for drainage,” explained Tom O’Bryan, area engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ office in Grand Haven.

O’Bryan said the Lake Michigan levels have risen in the past few years, but that does not allow the corps to raise the height of the pier structure.

“The lake levels have actually been about 18 inches higher in the past (1986) than they have been this past year, and then we ended up at record low levels in 2012-13.”

The pier is closed during the $2.65 million renovation. Contractors will remove the existing concrete surface to inspect the pier and make repairs. The exposed area will then be repaired, filled with stone and recapped with new concrete.

However, the marine contractors stopped work last month.

“Wind and waves have been very frequent and hard for the contractor to schedule crews,” O’Bryan said for a Tribune story Nov. 15. “They will start up as soon as possible in the spring.”

While officials have said the goal is to get the project completed by the end of July 2017, contractors have until the end of next year to complete the work.

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