Corps adding sand to south jetty spit to protect navigation channel, Westport infrastructure

  • Wed Nov 20th, 2019 4:30pm
  • News

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is placing about 55,000 cubic yards of sand at the Grays Harbor south jetty breach fill near Westport to shore up the sand spit that connects the jetty to the mainland.

The sand placement is intended to protect against continuing erosion and the risk of a breach, which could threaten the stability of the south jetty and federal navigation channel. Sand will be placed in the most-eroded portions of the spit, which will bring it back to a crest height of 35 feet. This will reinforce this area and provide necessary protection against a breach, according to the Corps.

A breach during a storm event could also pose a serious risk to city infrastructure. At risk are the city’s water treatment plant and outfall, and a breach that tops Half Moon Bay could impact much of the Marina District, which includes downtown businesses and the marina itself, according to Westport Public Works Director Kevin Goodrich. He said a breach could impact Westhaven State Park, including the comfort station, parking facility, beach trail and beach access.

The Corps contracted Northwest Rock Inc. in Aberdeen to perform the work. The contractor will build a temporary access road and is required to remove materials used to create the access road once the sand haul is complete. Most of the sand used for the project will come from a site on the east side of Half Moon Bay. Additional sand would be sourced from an upland quarry, according to the Corps.

Construction started Nov. 14 and takes place during daylight hours, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and is expected to be finished by March 15.

Native vegetation will be avoided when possible. No long-term impacts to vegetation are expected, said the Corps.

Access to Westhaven State Park will be restricted during those hours. Within Westhaven Park, patrons should be careful coming and going and be aware of where trucks and other heavy equipment are located. Park patrons should avoid the construction work area.

This action is being undertaken as an intermediate measure pending a longer-term solution currently under review, said the Corps.

The last time this type of action was taken was in 2012, when 30,000 cubic yards of sand was put in place. Since then, there has been significant erosion near the connection of the breach fill area and South Jetty, forming a concave pocket immediately adjacent to the South Jetty, according to the Corps.