The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District and the Village of Fair Haven, New York have built a strong partnership that is for the overall good of Little Sodus Bay, the local Fair Haven community, and the Great Lakes region.
Uniquely, the relationship that has been boosted throughout the recent years towards the temporary and permanent fix for the Little Sodus Bay west pier is again benefitting Little Sodus Bay and the Community, as the Village works to execute the West Beach Barrier Bar project concurrently at the same time as the permanent repairs on the west pier.
“Because of our strong relationship and constant communication, the need for more in-depth collaboration to efficiently complete these projects was realized early on,” said Lex Barker, USACE Buffalo District project manager. “Without this communication, one or both projects may have been delayed, or may have cost more, having a greater impact on Little Sodus Bay and the Community.”
“Working hand and hand with the USACE personnel (Led by Lex Barker, USACE Buffalo District PM) over the past few years on a regular basis has created a seamless transition from pen and paper to reality” said Jim Basile, Village of Fair Haven Mayor. “This continual communication along with the numerous site visits allowed for the village and USACE to become a team on this project which has ultimately led to this project flawless start and ultimately conclude with a positive outcome for all.”
The Village’s project known as the West Barrier Bar Park project is located at the southwestern end of the west pier on Little Sodus Bay. The purpose of the project is to stabilize the shoreline during high water events and provide a natural underwater garden to reduce the wave energy that has been eroding the shoreline over the years.
“Performing the work concurrently with the USACE repair of the West Pier realizes cost savings and time efficiencies,” said Mayor Basile “Specifically, site access work is being performed once for both projects and so will restoration work. Completing both projects at the same time, will keep the navigational and recreational opportunities that Little Sodus Bay and the pier provides to the public for many years to follow.”
The stakeholders from the project include the Village of Fair Haven, and their architectural/engineering firms, C2AE and EDR. USACE and these stakeholders have monthly meetings to discuss the steps that have already taken place, and what is happening next, which ensures that no little detail goes amiss while planning the execution of the projects.
“Due to the need for a USACE permit, the realization that these projects were occurring concurrently was realized early on,” Barker said. “To the benefit of all, it was completely coincidental that the USACE west pier project received its needed funding and the Village’s West Beach Barrier Bar project received the REDI funding at the same time.”
The USACE project manager and Village of Fair Haven, New York mayor coordinated on bringing the contractors together. The team recognized the benefit of both contractors discussing their plans and way ahead while working in proximity. This expedites timelines and ensures safety is maintained during the concurrent project activity.
Since 2018-19 when the west pier sheet pile started to fail and the need for this repair was identified, Buffalo District has worked diligently to ensure both temporary and long-term repairs were put into effect, collaborating with the Village regularly along the way.
Now, USACE is working toward permanent repairs on the west pier with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding that included the much-needed funds to complete the permanent repair, with work commencing this July and a goal to have it complete by Fall 2022.
Buffalo District maintains strong partnerships throughout the region. Partnerships embracing open communication, such as this one, result in successful, timely projects that benefit all United States Citizens. The USACE team is always looking forward to working with local and state officials through established Corps of Engineers authorities to further develop and build existing and new partnerships.