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Wayne County scales back lakeshore protection project

One of the breaches caused by high water and waves on Crescent Beach. A project to repair and protect the barrier bar that fronts Sodus Bay is planned, but the lone bidder is $13 million above the estimated cost for the work.

Posted on August 21, 2023

Work is expected to begin this year on a long-awaited project to repair a barrier bar called Crescent Beach that protects Sodus Bay from the ravages of Lake Ontario. It’s home to a number of cottages as well.

However, because of bids that came in last fall millions of dollars above estimated costs, work has been scaled back significantly by dividing the project into four phases, Wayne County Public Works Superintendent Kevin Rooney said.

At its meeting Monday at the Wayne County Fair in Palmyra, the Board of Supervisors awarded the project bid of $12.88 million to WD Malone Truck and Excavating of Hannibal, Oswego County. Rooney said the company was the sole bidder.

A single bid last year of $26.4 million for the full project was $13 million over the estimated cost, forcing the county and project engineers to go back to the drawing board. The county was awarded $14.6 million under the state’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI. The county’s project share is $1.5 million, and work is expected to be completed later in 2024.

“We intend to install barrier bars at the most vulnerable locations during this first phase,” Rooney said. “If/when additional funds become available, the other phases will be constructed.”

Rooney said the state Department of Environmental Conservation approved the scaled-back plan.

Sodus Point Mayor Dave McDowell, who owns a cottage on Crescent Beach, is pleased the county is moving ahead.


“I am excited to see this project come to fruition,” he said. “Having money to do what is now known as Phase 1 is a great start and will let all of us see the benefits of this approach. Next steps will be to find money to do the remaining phases.”

Crescent Beach has suffered breaches in recent years because of high water levels and pounding waves, and to address the issue, project engineers proposed placing several barrier rock breakwaters near its shore for protection, along with other work. However, the material originally called for in the project, granite, has exploded in price, County Administrator Rick House said, a large reason for cost overruns.

The county received permission to use cheaper limestone instead, House noted.

“It isn’t that they underestimated the project,” House said of the engineers. “Goods and commodities just went through the roof. Everything just skyrocketed.”

House emphasized that if additional phases are to be done, it’s going to have to be funded with outside sources.

“It’s not going to be on the backs of taxpayers,” he said, citing new county costs that include a new emergency medical service.


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