Thursday, April 18, 2013



First a photo of a bright crisp morning taken last Sunday, following three days of nearly non-stop snow.

Washington Island, for some reason, maybe lake effect, received 8.5 inches of rather wet snow.  It was a strange time, with pavement and patches of ground that remained totally bare because they'd been warmed during the previous week.

Sunshine and warmer temperatures melted nearly all snow, then more precipitation fell today, this time rain.

The overall change in lake level has been positive, an 8 or 9 inch increase since early January and higher during the gale force NE winds of last Thursday.  That afternoon, because of lake swells and not much ice to dampen their motion, the Arni J. Richter landed in the afternoon at Gills Rock, the first time in several years.   By Friday morning it was back again at Northport where, thanks to wind-driven lake levels that ferry was able to back in to the pier for the first time since October.  

We are still hopeful that all ferries will be able to transit the Detroit Harbor channel - if water levels continue to rise to allow business "nearly usual" - by late May.  The shallower draft Eyrarbakki, at approximately 8.5 ft., should be able to begin service sometime next week, after Coast Guard approvals on the installation for rebuilt equipment is granted, and final maintenance details have been completed.

Mike Kahr continued to dredge at Northport, completing work left undone there in early February.  That dredging permit, and the job of breaking and digging rock off the end of the Northport Pier, is finished, for now.  His next project will be for the State Park in Jackson Harbor.  It will impact where the Karfi can land.  He's also been contracted by the State to dredge loose cobblestone accumulated near the pier at Rock Island.

This has been a long winter, but we're starting to emerge from our hole.

April 11, 12 and 13 we received snowfall.  But now when the
days warm, it often reaches close to 50 degrees.

Good news of a different sort

Tuesday night the Town of Washington Board of Supervisors opened bids from three contractors for the job to dredge the Detroit Harbor channel.  The requirements were for three separate funding scenarios, so each bid package contained three different proposal figures.

There is more review to be done by the Town, assisted by their consulting firm Foth Environmental, before a contractor is named.   But, good news at this point is that each of the bids came in lower than we had anticipated, and it appears the bids might allow for doing the entire project in one, continuous effort.  They range from approximately $3 million (low bid) to $4.7 million (high bid).  Added to the contractor fees will be costs to repair Town roads, engineering and construction oversight fees, and a 15% project contingency.

East Side Road, Sunday morning April 14..

No official award has yet been made by the Town, but that should be forthcoming once finer details of the bids have been vetted.

State officials ought to find this basic set of bids well within their acceptable, affordable range, and Washington Island's citizens would be very surprised - and disappointed - if given these figures the State won't follow with project approval, then funding, over the next several months.

-  Dick Purinton



Bill Tobey said...

Good to see the Washington back in service using the regular island ferry dock as of Thursday (4/25). It's fairly easy to see roughly how much the lake level has risen since the first of the year using the webcams.

Thanks again for keeping up this blog, Dick. 60,000+ visitors can't be wrong! :-)

Richard Purinton said...

Thanks for your following, Bill. Actually, 60,000+ may be the result of folks such as yourself looking in many times each day, hoping the message would change! I appreciate your comments. - DP