TRAVERSE CITY — Work will begin on Oct. 1 to dredge and renovate the harbor at Northwestern Michigan College, home to the highly visible training vessel — the State of Michigan.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will oversee the project and hired low bidder, Great Lakes Dock & Material of Muskegon, to do most of the work, said Ed Bailey, NMC’s harbor project manager.
Great Lakes Dock & Material subcontracted some parts of the project to local firms, including Team Elmer’s and Spence Brothers Construction. The company plans to finish by December 23, pending good weather. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have a full-time, on-site supervisor.
NMC is home to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy and the Great Lakes Fresh Waters Studies program. Students in both programs train on education and research vessels that moor in the harbor, including the 210-foot State of Michigan with a draft of about 15 feet.
The harbor renovation will allow more vessels to get in and out of the harbor, meaning students will get more exposure to new research projects and equipment.
The plan calls for demolishing the dilapidated, hook-shaped eastern break wall that allows sand to build up in the harbor and limits the number of vessels that can moor within.
Workers will also dredge the harbor and move 30,000 cubic yards of sand some 1.5 miles west of the harbor to waters fronting the beach near where M-22 and M-72 intersect at about a five-foot depth.
The new, straight break wall will measure 250 feet long by 22 feet wide, Bailey said.
The U.S. Army Corps will pick up $2 million of the $2.6 million cost of the project that involves demolishing the eastern break wall where sand tends to build up. NMC will pay the balance.