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North Pier Repairs Kick Off More Than $7.5M in 2024 Army Corps Projects in Erie

Posted on April 11, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District and its contractor, Chicago-based Architectural Consulting Group, will begin construction on Erie Harbor’s north pier in mid-April, repairing approximately 1,800 feet of the damaged structure.

The work is part of more than $7.5 million worth of activity in Erie by USACE in 2024, including dredging of the harbor’s federal navigation channel and continuation of the Presque Isle Beach Nourishment project.

“Erie’s piers are critical to the safety of the harbor, economic growth and recreational activities on the waterfront,” said Lt. Col. Lyle Milliman, commander of the Buffalo District. “We look forward to completing this season’s projects, ensuring Erie Harbor continues to serve the local community, the Great Lakes region, and the Nation.”

“Historically, this landmark has been a staple for recreational users for decades. Boaters, fishermen, surfers, and sightseers all use the pier daily. Coupled with the North Pier Light, it provides one of Erie’s most iconic views for those entering Presque Isle Bay,” said Mathew Greene, Presque Isle State Park operations manager.

“This investment will benefit not only Erie, but the entire Great Lakes region,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA). “Lake Erie is an economic driver for the entire Erie region. This project is important for tourism, commerce, and overall safety of the piers.”

The north pier has protected the harbor since 1900, but a 200-foot section of timber crib structure adjacent to the U.S. Coast Guard Station has collapsed, and approximately 1,600 feet of sheet pile has separated from the pier structure.

Construction beginning in early to mid-April will include encasing the 200-foot section of timber crib in approximately 370 cubic yards of new concrete and re-attaching separated sheet pile and replacing failed bolts along the 1,600-foot span from the Coast Guard station to the Channel Lighthouse.

The $3.9 million project is 100% federally funded and scheduled to be completed in October 2024.

In December 2023, USACE awarded a $682,000 contract for dredging the federal navigation channel in Erie Harbor to ensure accessible depths for large vessels and the continued flow of commodities across the Great Lakes. Dredging will focus on the lake approach channel and areas between the entrance piers, removing approximately 100,000 cubic yards of material and placing it in an authorized open lake area. Work is scheduled to take place from mid-June through July 2024.

USACE has been nourishing the beach at Presque Isle State Park since 1989. Beach nourishment prevents erosion of the nearly seven-mile long, 3,200-acre Presque Isle Peninsula – a natural breakwater protecting the harbor, critical habitat for the migratory Piping Plover, and significant tourism destination. The annual target amount of sand for beach nourishment is 38,000 cubic yards, but the final amount will be determined following the spring beach inspection with partners from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Presque Isle State Park, and the Presque Isle State Park Advisory Committee. $1.5 million is already on hand from the fiscal year 2024 budget, with a matching $1.5 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and a stockpile of more than 11,000 cubic yards of sand already available at Presque Isle.

About North Pier construction:

The north pier will be closed to the public periodically during construction, and some nearby areas of Presque Isle State Park may be used to stage construction equipment.

Work may be conducted on shore and in the water, so visitors to the park and vessels navigating the federal channel between Erie Harbor and Lake Erie are advised to observe all safety signage and avoid construction activities and equipment.

Construction is not expected to impede USCG activities or operation of the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port and waterfront businesses. Repairs will not impact USACE’s annual Presque Isle beach nourishment project or planned dredging of the federal navigation channel.

About Erie Harbor:

Erie Harbor is a deep draft commercial harbor which handled 787,000 tons of cargo, including limestone (52%), sand & gravel (30%), and salt (17%) in 2021. Waterborne transportation facilitated by the harbor supports $33.8 million in business revenue, 152 jobs, and $10.4 million in labor income to the transportation sector.


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