Posted on August 30, 2023
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District and its contractor, Norwalk, Ohio-based Mark Schaffer Excavating-Trucking, are scheduled to begin repairs to the Vermilion Harbor West Pier the week of Sept. 4.
Construction will temporarily limit access to the Main Street beach while repairs are made, ensuring the harbor remains economically viable and able to provide access for recreation and refuge to boaters on the Great Lakes.
“The west pier is a key piece of infrastructure for safe navigation in Vermilion Harbor and Lake Erie,” said Lex Barker, USACE Buffalo District project manager. “We understand this construction impacts the community, and we appreciate their support as we repair this critical pier.”
“The work that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will undertake to repair the Vermilion Harbor West Pier this fall is historic, and I was pleased to announce earlier this year that it was included in the Corps’ work plan for 2023,” said Rep. Kaptur Marcy Kaptur (OH-09). “As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee, my focus in Washington is ensuring that federal dollars are used responsibly to rebuild maritime infrastructure to protect Lake Erie and aid our coastal communities. I look forward to the completion of these repairs scheduled to be completed before the end of this year, and helping to identify other projects that can continue to improve our Great Lakes infrastructure.”
“The City of Vermilion thanks Congresswoman Kaptur and the Army Corps of Engineers for the extensive and costly repairs to our West Pier at the mouth of our Vermilion River. Vermilion is an exceptionally busy port that brings thousands of welcome visitors to our community and boosts our economy. The City alone could never afford to make the necessary repairs and is grateful for the funding arranged by Congresswoman Kaptur and the professional expertise of the Army Corps,” said Jim Forthofer, mayor of Vermilion.
“The repair of the Vermilion Harbor West Pier is critical to the safety of mariners, beach goers, and the Vermilion community. In cooperation with our many partners, Erie MetroParks has suspended public programming at Wakefield MetroParks for the 2023 season. However, we will continue to conserve and monitor the federally threatened coastal species at the work site,” said Melissa Price, deputy director of Erie MetroParks.
Repairs to approximately 900 feet of the pier from the beach section to the north wrap will include removing all stone that has begun to settle on the lakeside of the pier. New granular fill will be placed beneath the stone with a reset of the cap stones to their initial elevations.
Construction of this $1.2 million project is 100 percent federally funded and expected to be complete by December 2023.
The Main Street beach will be closed to the public Monday through Friday to allow contractor access to the repair area. The beach will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday during construction.
Caution is strongly encouraged for anyone near the beach area. Traffic through the area will be intermittent, and only during daylight hours.
The west pier repair is not expected to impact navigation, but mariners should exercise caution when navigating near the repair area.
Vermilion Harbor is on the south shore of Lake Erie at the mouth of the Vermilion River, about 37 miles west of Cleveland and 21 miles east of Sandusky. It is a small-craft harbor originally authorized by the River & Harbor Act and constructed in 1836 by the federal government. The West Pier is 1,333 feet long.
Boating trip and annual craft spending at Vermilion Harbor generates an estimated $6.9 million in revenues to accommodations, restaurants, retail, boat repair, and other services and industries and supports a total of 44.5 full-time equivalent jobs, $3.3 million in labor income, $4.4 million in the gross regional product, and $7.3 million in economic output in the local impact area.
Photos of the west pier and Vermilion Harbor are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/buffalousace/albums/72177720310814160.
The Buffalo District delivers world class engineering solutions to the Great Lakes Region, the Army and the Nation in order to ensure national security, environmental sustainability, water resource management, and emergency assistance during peace and war.