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Front Page » Top Stories » Seawall Recovery May Slow Dredging

Seawall Recovery May Slow Dredging

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Written by on November 29, 2007

By Risa Polansky
Huge chunks of an old seawall submerged near the mouth of the Miami River could pose problems in an already-precarious river dredging timeline.

Though a grant to fund a new seawall at Brickell’s Miami Circle site this month marked a step forward for securing the landmark, time that will likely pass between finding matching funds, removing chunks of the wall from the River and building a new wall could pose problems for the long-unstable dredging project.

State legislators could give the nod to expend in July the $1.4 million still needed to replace the collapsed wall, said State Archaeologist Ryan Wheeler, marking the beginning of a process to hire a contractor.

But if the sunken pieces aren’t out of the path of dredgers should they near the area in late summer as projected, they’ll leave the area undredged, said Luis R. Perez, senior project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers.

State Rep. Luis Garcia called the situation a "shame."

"The government has spent millions and millions of dollars dredging the river," he said. "We are in danger of getting a pie in the face if we don’t fix the seawall."

In a letter to the state’s Department of Management Services and Mr. Wheeler, US Coast Guard Capt. Karl Schultz wrote: "The inability of the Army Corps to dredge would cause a growing hazard to marine traffic."

He "strongly recommended" that "the collapsed section of the seawall be removed prior to the Army Corps dredging in the area."

Mr. Wheeler said the state is "ready to remove it whenever we can," even ahead of replacing the wall, but is, at the direction of the Corps, awaiting US Fish and Wildlife Service approval.

"They (the Corps) say we have to remove the seawall, but they say we can’t remove the seawall," he said.