That’s why the large barge and crane are sitting in the channel that connects the Grand River and Spring Lake.
“It’s really just a bigger version of what was there,” said Joe Bailey of Great Lakes Dock and Materials of Muskegon, which is doing the work.
The obstruction “appears to be the remains of a bridge foundation,” said Jason Herbert, chief of the Coast Guard Aids to Navigation unit in Muskegon.
The 224-ton crane is a little overkill for the job, but that’s what the company had available in the area, Bailey said. And the job is quite a bit smaller than what they would usually do, but “it’s close to home,” he said.
The crew is replacing what is known as the Spring Lake obstruction light.
The existing structure is a 12-inch-diameter pole with boards on it and a light on a tower that is 15 feet above the low water datum, Bailey said. With the higher water levels, it’s barely visible to boaters.
The new structure is a 5-foot-diameter cylinder that will be filled with rocks and cement. It will have a light on a galvanized steel tower that is 17 feet above the low water datum. There will also be a solar panel to power the light.
Bailey said the U.S. Coast Guard authorized the $217,000 project.
Workers will use the large crane to pound four 60-foot pilings into the channel. Additional pilings will be spliced on top for an 80-foot height. The structure will surround those pilings.
Workers said that once the structure is in the water – because of the high water levels – only the yellow safety bars and a few inches of the cylinder will be visible.
Here is the order of the work: Crews will place the pilings, and then place the cylinder. They will fill the cylinder partway with rocks and concrete, and then let it set for a day. They will finish with more concrete and set the tower.
Work on the structure should be completed by the end of the week, Bailey said.
The channel is open to boaters while the work is being done.