At 97-years-old, the jetty system at the mouth of the Columbia River needs work, both in Washington and Oregon.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans an estimated $257 million project to upgrade a three-jetty system that includes jetty in Cape Disappointment State Park on the Washington side of the river and another in Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon.
And the work has already started, with a $5.3 million contract awarded to Catworks Construction to fill in a lagoon on the inland side of the North Jetty, according to The Daily Astorian.
Work at the 2.5-mile-long jetty will include 40,000 tons of new rock, a new culvert and work to restore the jetty’s foundation. The contract for the entire North Jetty project should get awarded this fall. Work on the nearby Jetty A, also in Washington, is tied to the Columbia River project.
The South Jetty, a longer rock structure on the Oregon side, will see work there—a less popular jetty for tourists because of its distance from the main park amenities—start in 2017.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the three-jetty system helps with marine navigation. The jetty structures reach into the Pacific Ocean from both the north and south, helping flush silt to the ocean and keeping the river navigable. Over nearly 100 years of shouldering the brunt of the Pacific’s waves and currents, the jetty foundations have started to crumble.
The entire project will happen in stages, with everything wrapping up in 2021.
Tim Newcomb is Engineering News-Record’s Pacific Northwest contributor. He also writes for Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb or visit his website here.