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Seawall Restoration Update

From PV&IPM Superintendent Barbara Rowles

As we wrap up 2023 and the second construction season, we wanted to give you an update on progress and what to expect. The contractor, ES Wagner, made good progress this season, but efforts were stalled by differing site conditions in the most complicated part of the project, the center north seawall. This necessarily pushed some work to the spring of 2024.

The two seawalls that shield the low-lying isthmus of Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial from Lake Erie have been raised 12 to 24 inches to reduce lake overtopping and flooding. The stormwater drainage system will be almost completely replaced, including the addition of two pumping stations, which will drastically improve drainage and is scalable to be upsized for potential future higher precipitation and climate driven events. Tide levels, lake level projections, extreme wind conditions, extreme wave modeling, hydrodynamic modeling, flooding, precipitation and ice were all considerations incorporated into the design of the seawall improvements and stormwater drainage system. This $27 million project to improve the seawalls and storm drainage also preserves the aesthetics that the low-profile curved concrete seawalls add to the 352-foot memorial column that seemingly rises out of Lake Erie.

• The 80-foot extension along the southwest was completed allowing for the opening of the Put-in-Bay Village swim beach. The National Park Service deeply appreciates the Village of Put-in-Bay allowing the use of this area to complete the necessary work.
• The entire length of the south seawall has been restored and the height increased by 18 inches to prevent wave overtopping. The walkway has been restored and raised to match the prior profile maintaining the perfect bench height.
• Two new seating areas have been incorporated into the walkway that will have benches and trash receptacles added in the spring. These will be wonderful spaces to take in the view of Lake Erie, rest, and reflect. The park plans to add some wayside panels in these seating areas that will enhance the overall experience.
• New lighting has been added to the seawall that illuminates the walkway at night.
• The new drainage system is complete and gives us the ability to quickly drain the area in storm events.
• Site work along the south is complete with only a few remaining punch list items to be addressed.
• The south side will be open for the entire 2024 season.

• This section of seawall was completed in 2022 with the height increased by 12 inches and the addition of lighting in the seawall to illuminate the new walkway.
• Work on the new drainage system for this area is underway and will be completed in the spring of 2024.

• Work continues in this area, but the seawall is complete and the height has been increased by 24 inches.

North Center:
• This was by far the most complex part of the project and differing site conditions were found with bedrock higher or much lower than anticipated. This entire section is new construction, and all wall segments will be complete by the second week of November. The height of this section is 12 inches taller on the northwest and gradually increases to match the 24-inch increase on the northeast.
• The AquaDam, turbidity curtain, and all other associated materials will be removed from Lake Erie by the end of November.

ES Wagner will return in the spring of 2024 to complete the remaining work including:
• The north side drainage system will be finished.
• Surface finishing will be completed along the north seawall.
• A new walkway will be added to the entire length of the north seawall. This will include a new interpretive plaza directly across Bayview Avenue from the Memorial with full length depictions of the decks of the US Brig Lawrence and HMS Detroit etched into the walkway. Wayside panels will be added describing both vessels. Lights are embedded into the new seawall to illuminate the walkway at night.
• Bayview Avenue will be realigned to its original footprint and given a fresh coat of asphalt.
• Walkways on the south side of Bayview Avenue will be restored.
• Final grading, grass restoration, a new seating area added, and landscaping will be completed in the northwest section near the Dairy Isle.
• The contractor work area across from the Dairy Isle will be removed and the area restored.

Current plans are for all remaining work to be completed by the end of May 2024 with the contractor demobilized by the end of June 2024. We do not anticipate any in-water work in 2024. The park may host an event to celebrate the completion of this major project, but the date and time are yet to be determined.
This has been a long project and difficult at times for the park, community and visitors. For the park and those living and working here, it will be well worth it as future flooding events should be minimal and paddle boarding on the lawn a thing of the past. We look forward to enjoying the completed work and are deeply grateful to all those who helped with this project and to the entire community for your patience and support.


The previous piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.

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