Friday, August 29, 2014

News
Signs posted warning of dangerous Port Washington breakwaters
by John Cuoco


PORT WASHINGTON- The federally owned breakwaters in Port Washington are in poor condition.

On Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers put up signs on the North and South breakwaters warning people that the area is now restricted and that there's a potential for danger.

"You're putting your own life in your own hands," Port Washington Mayor Tom Mlada said.

It was reported over the summer that the deterioration on the North breakwater may the worst on Lake Michigan and that it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

Since that time, nothing has been done besides the signs.

Mlada used the Corps words when he said the breakwaters are at risk of "imminent failure."

The mayor said if it's fixed now the cost would be between $5 million and $10 million.

"If it's not done now and we allow it to fail, it becomes maybe four or five times that," Mlada explained.

That money would come out of the tax payers pocket due to these being federal structures.

There's also a risk to damage at the marina, local businesses, and a WE Energies plant.

It could be $70 million of public and private damage Mlada explained to CBS58.

Mayor Mlada said is he frustrated by the fact that for  last 20 years his city has paid into the federally run Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by charging residents a Harbor Maintenance Tax.

The fund is used for maintenance dredging, dredged material disposal areas, jetties, and breakwaters.

According to the Associated Contractors of America, while funds are collected, they are just not being put to use.

The Mayor added that he hopes to travel to Washington D.C. this month with other city representatives to address the issue of the crumbling breakwaters.

More info on the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund: http://www.agc.org/cs/harbor_maintenance_trust_fund