The New England District and its contractor, Hugo Key and Son of Newport, R.I., recently completed a phase of repair and maintenance work on the South Jetty of Newburyport Harbor, Mass. Maintenance work on the jetty has not been performed since 1970.
“We’ve repaired approximately the first 600 feet of the 1,400-foot-long South Jetty in Newburyport Harbor by delivering and placing approximately 12,000 tons of rock,” said Project Manager Jack Karalius. “The largest rock we placed weighed 12 tons.”
Newburyport Harbor is about 2.5 miles-long and stretches from the mouth of the Merrimack River to the U.S. Route 1 Bridge. The South Jetty extends from Plum Island Point in Newburyport and is 1,400 feet long.
The project was originally funded with $3.5 million and then additional funds amounting to $5.5 million. The additional funding was attained as part of the Disaster Appropriations Act of 2013. Newburyport Harbor was adversely affected during Tropical Storm Irene, Hurricane Sandy, Winter Storm Nemo and several other severe winter storms. The South Jetty sustained damage from these storms as a result. The winter storms that followed Hurricane Sandy caused problems for the project. Because the Contractor worked from the land, he had to cross over 2,500 feet of dunes, on a temporary access road consisting of timber mats, to get from the staging area at the Plum Island parking lot to the jetty. After the first winter storm washed away some of the mats, he took precautionary measures before the subsequent storms, and removed some mats and reset them afterwards. Due to the storms, in combination with the dynamic nature of the inlet, the toe of the side slope on the north (channel) side of the jetty was undermined, while the south (ocean) side of the jetty had an unusual amount of water-deposited and windblown sand.
Hugo Key and Son received the contract award on Sept. 27, 2012 and began mobilizing to the site that October. The first delivery of rock was Dec. 3, 2012. According to Karalius, those same storms caused such severe beach erosion in Newbury, several houses were lost. The unusually severe winter storms pushed the completion date into April, which brought on an environmental concern. Piping Plovers, a bird species federally listed as threatened and endangered, begin nesting in the area at the time.
“The District applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for a work extension to April 15 and we were given it,” said Karalius.
The conditions of the extension included having a Piping Plover monitor on the site daily, according to Karalius. Fortunately there were no sightings during that time and the work continued until its completion on April 15.
The New England District team expects to begin another phase of repair and maintenance work on the jetty. “The next phase will complete the 1,400-foot-long jetty,” said Karalius. “We’ll be adding about another 12,000 tons of rock.”
Karalius says he hopes the District will award a contract and start work this fall.
New England District team members who worked on this project were Bob Meader, Todd Randall, Bob McCusker, Bob Casoli, Jim Doucakis, Bill McIntyre, Tom Marcotte, Matt Tessier, Susan Dunnagan, Paul Young, Tracy Dorgan, Maureen Murray, Paul O’Brien, Kathleen Pendergast, Joe Redlinger and John Winkelman.
Many agencies and organizations were also involved in the success of this project. They include U.S. Congressman John Tierney’s office, State Senator Bruce Tarr’s office, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the city of Newburyport, Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management and the USFWS.