Jacksonville, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asks boaters to slow down and use extra caution within the Mile Point construction area on the St. Johns River.
“We’ve seen some close calls here on the water because people are speeding through the area,” said Corps Construction Project Engineer Mike Lyons, Jacksonville District.
“The Contractor is lifting 50,000 pound objects for construction of the west leg training wall, and a large wake within the construction zone while these objects are suspended can cause damage to equipment and harm to personnel. These wakes also make it difficult (and dangerous) for the crew boats shuttling construction personnel to different areas within the work site.”
The construction zone contains a variety of large vessels, including a crane barge, an excavator barge, several support barges and a dredge with pipelines, in the Chicopit Bay and Intracoastal Waterway on the St. Johns. Some areas are restricted to construction personnel only due to public safety concerns.
The Mile Point project will improve vessel navigation by rerouting the navigable waters in the Chicopit Bay and the Inter-Coastal Waterway system. Mile Point is where the St. Johns River meets the Intracoastal Waterway, resulting in difficult cross-currents at ebb tide. This restricts port navigation, causing delays and shipping inefficiencies.
The Corps’ contractor for the project, Manson Construction Company, is using geo-synthetic tubes and Concrete Structural Units (west leg training wall) to build an island perimeter foundation and then fill in the interior with dredged material to restore the Great Marsh Island. They’ll also place roughly 30,000 tons of stone to construct the east leg training wall.
The Mile Point project will result in the loss of 8.15 acres of salt marsh at Helen Cooper Floyd Park, but the Corps is using dredged material from the project to restore up to a total of 53 acres of salt marsh at the island. This effort includes restoration of high and low salt marsh as well as low dune and oyster habitat. The new west leg training wall should also substantially reduce active erosion at Great Marsh Island.
Additional work at the site includes marine animal monitoring, bird monitoring, turbidity monitoring, and coordinating with U.S Coast Guard officials. In upcoming months, contractors will relocate approximately 3,300 feet of stone from the existing training wall at the park and build a training wall on the southeast side along the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Corps asks the public to respect the construction zone restrictions and to remain vigilant in the waterways. Safety, as always, is the number one priority on this project.
For a navigation emergency, please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 904-564-7513. All navigation notices are posted on the Coast Guard Region 7 webpage at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lnmDistrict®ion=7. Mariners can also register for emailed local navigation notices on this website.
The Corps estimates construction will continue through November 2016. For more Mile Point project information, please contact the Corps’ Jacksonville District at 904-232-1630 or go to www.saj.usace.army.mil and click ports in the right column.