Senator Baldwin visits Algoma to discuss $19 million breakwater repair

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

“The number of people going up and down this pier in the summer months, it’s unreal how many people you see coming out,” said City of Algoma Director of Public Works Matt Murphy.

It is also an essential source of protection for the city’s marina and coastline. But Murphy says the concrete is crumbling.

“The big problem is the failing surface of it,” he said. “What can we do to put a peak on it and how is it going to be resolved?”

On Friday, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin met with Algoma officials to discuss a plan worth more than $19 million to repair the port’s south breakwater.

“It looks like funding is slated for 2023,” Murphy said.

One of the main objectives of the project is to make the south breakwater safer for pedestrians.

“They would sheet pile the outside of the entire south pier and then pour a new top there,” Murphy said. “Putting a whole new surface over the whole thing is a lot of concrete coming out.”

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

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act aims to help small communities become more resilient and ensure their infrastructure can last another 100 years,” Baldwin said.

Murphy says the US Army Corps of Engineers will do 30% of the design and construction will be done by contractors.

“I don’t know if we’ll actually see our feet on the ground until 2024 as it sounds,” he said. “And it may even be until 2025 before we actually see something moving and unfolding ahead here.”

It may be years before it’s done, but Murphy thinks it’s worth the wait.

“I think it’s very important to the tourism impact of the city of Algoma,” he said.