|Seems like the same old story, digging, trucking and muck. |
But each day holds newchallenges. Current dredge spoil
totals are now slightly over the half-way mark
objective in terms of volume of spoils, and
not quite half-way in bottom area to be dug.
- Last Day, 2012 -
By far the largest dredging project yet undertaken by the Ferry Line is the deepening of waters adjacent to the Island Potato Dock. In the warmer weather of any other season, a successful project conclusion would be assumed as only a matter of time and money. But with winter coming on, short daylight hours, temperatures sure to drop below the pleasant upper 20s of the past weeks, and equipment and people increasingly under strain, achievement of our goal is still a ways off.
"No, not another blog on dredging," was a comment I received, directed toward the series of reports with similar themes of late.
I can't help myself! I find the combination of big equipment, the project scale and challenges too intriguing to pass up. And, that doesn't begin to address the alternatives if the Ferry Line and the Island can't have one, safe ferry landing site come real winter. Not succeeding is just something none of us can begin to contemplate. So... its dig and haul, dig and haul, until sufficient material is removed.
"Why is this being done so late in the season?" is one question we've been asked.
The project as it stands on this last day of the year is a culmination of action begun months ago. First, as water levels were monitored, we hoped the drop would not lead to extremes requiring immediate dredeging. The cost of such activities was huge enough that we waited until we were sure certain there were no other options besides expenditure for dredging.
The paperwork - the filing of permit applications for state and local approvals that allow a project like this legally go forward began in early October. That was when falling lake levels sounded serious alarms for the consequences of the coming winter's navigation. We were fortunate in the permitting process to have had the prompt and full cooperation of regional WDNR administrative and Door County Zoning personnel, We believe they helped to speed the permitting for this project more than would typically have been the case. Our permits were received in mid-December, and at that time we had already set a tentative start date for digging.
There was also the verbal lining-up of a marine contractor. Although we had Mike Kahr on the way, after he completed work at another site in Fish Creek, the scope of this project and the slippage of time brought further concern. That led to our asking Roen by the middle of December to consider our job once their work in Egg Harbor was completed. This they agreed to do. We were fortunate to have the understanding and support from both Roen and Kahr. Everyone understood that this dredging needed to be done ASAP. As it happened, we are relying on the equipment of each marine contractor.
Critical in this project, too, is the willingness of Island men who own and drive dump trucks. They've been willing to operate their trucks, loaded ten yards at a time, for five or six round trips - about 3.5 hours - per material barge load. They appear at the Potato Dock after an advance phone call from Rich Ellefson. Rich then works either on shore coordinating the trucking, or he monitors dredging progress and operates a skidster to assist cleaning out corners on the material barge.
Without the help of Pete Nehlsen, Dave Hanlin, David Small, Mike Jorgenson, Tim Ervin, Tom Jordan, Drew Rainsford and Jon Mann, plus one of Mike Kahr's dump trucks driven by Joel Gunnlaugsson (or myself, one day), and Hoyt Purinton supervising the pit dumping activities, the dredged material would soon stockpile on the barge and the entire project would be slowed. Thanks also to Julian Hagen for consenting to receive spoils at his gravel pit. Because the Hagen site is close, a truck can make the round trip in 30 minutes or less, when all goes smoothly.
|Dave Hanlin, Rich Ellefson, Con McDonald|
lent a hand in pulling slack on the hoist cable.
So, thanks for indulging me in yet one more report on dredging. It's critical to the well-being of Washington Island to have this work done. We could say that the stakes have never been higher. For that, we're thankful for the willing participation of many hands during the recent days.
- Dick Purinton