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Sen. Tammy Baldwin visits Algoma to discuss $19-million project to repair Harbor's south breakwater

Posted at 10:13 PM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 23:13:48-04

ALGOMA, Wis. (NBC 26) — After nearly 110 years, a concrete structure in Algoma still serves as a walkway for anglers and tourists.

"The amount of people that come on and off of that pier in the summer months, it's unreal the amount of people that you see walk out there," City of Algoma Director of Public Works Matt Murphy said.

It's also a pivotal source of protection for the city's marina and shoreline. But Murphy says the concrete is crumbling.

"The big thing is the failing surface of it," he said. "What can we do to put a top on it and how is that gonna be addressed?"

On Friday, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin met with Algoma officials to discuss a plan worth over $19 million to repair the Harbor's south breakwater.

"It sounds like the funding is earmarked for 2023," Murphy said.

One of the project's main goals is to make the south breakwater safer for pedestrians.

"They would sheet pile the outside of the whole south pier and then pour a new top on it," Murphy said. "To put a whole new surface on the whole thing is a lot of concrete that’s going out there."

The investment is part of a federal bill passed in November. The city found out about the funds in February.

"The bipartisan infrastructure law is to help small communities be able to become more resilient and make sure that their infrastructure can last another 100 years," Baldwin said.

Murphy says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will complete 30 percent of the design and the construction will be done by contractors.

"I don't know if we'll see actually feet on the ground until 2024 the way it sounds," he said. "And it might even be possibly 2025 before we actually see something moving and taking place out front here."

It might be years before it's done, but Murphy believes it's worth the wait.

"I think it's very big for the tourism impact for the City of Algoma," he said.