The timeline for the construction of Digby’s new breakwater has been extended. It now looks like the project will be finished next spring, six months or so later than initially planned.

 “The original completion date was Nov. 30 and we are looking at a completion date likely late spring of 2014,” said Jeff Sunderland, harbour manager with the Digby Harbour Port Association.

Engineers looked at a different approach to construction after a workplace accident in May in which an excavator slipped into the water and sank. The machine’s operator escaped and was not hurt.

“They (the contractor) came up with a method that they were comfortable with for placing the remainder of the material and proceeded to do so through much of the summer,” Sunderland said.

The work became more focused on low tide than had been the case with the original construction plan, he said.

This change slowed down the project, he said, and the deadline for the breakwater’s completion was pushed back to next spring.

“This strategy was taken as part of their (effort) to ensure a safe job site following the accident in May,” Sunderland said.

Reached the day before travelling to Ottawa as part of a local contingent attending a marine renewable energy conference, Sunderland provided an update on the project and where it goes from here.

“They’re hoping to have the rock portion of the breakwater complete by the end of December and then, as the weather improves, hopefully in early spring, start placing the wooden cribs onto the breakwater structure,” he said.

There is no financial penalty in this case for pushing back the project’s completion date, Sunderland said.

Plans for the breakwater were announced in the summer of 2012.

In July of that year West Nova MP Greg Kerr announced federal funding for the breakwater and wharf improvements for Digby.

The $4-million contract for the project was awarded to Western Specialty Contractors of Manitoba.

Story by: Eric Bourque

The Digby County Courier

November 22, 2013