DIGBY -The Digby Harbour Port Association is putting the finishing touches on $7.6 million in wharf improvements.

D.J. Lowe has begun work to pave an extension of the wharf parking lot around and behind the port association’s office. That project will cost $26,000 and add space for 20 more vehicles.

“At peak times there has been a big parking shortage here, so this will really help,” says wharf manager Ed Chisholm.

D.J. Lowe has prepared the gravel bed ,but is waiting to get enough paving jobs together before starting the actual paving. That could happen later next week.

The port association has also awarded a tender to repair the concrete piles on the outside of the spur wharf.

The association will pay D.J. Lowe $111,000 to pour concrete into seven major voids and then apply a covering of shotcrete over the rest of the concrete pilings.

Over time the concrete has worn away exposing rebar underneath to salt water, which rusts the steel.

Chisholm says the cooler weather may interrupt the project – they can only spray shotcrete when the temperature is above 5 C – but, whatever they don’t get done this fall, they will finish in the spring.

“They are going to clean up the piles, spray in the product and hopefully ensure the deterioration stops,” said Jeff Sunderland, who continues as project manager at the wharf. “Combined with the addition the breakwater this should make for a relatively serious extension of the wharf’s life cycle; it should add 15 to 20 years.”

When the spur wharf was built in 1972, its lifecycle was estimated at 50 years - or until 2022.

The spur wharf was the only part of the wharf experiencing the concrete deterioration.

The concrete work marks the final project in two-and-a-half years of steady work on the wharf.

West Nova MP Greg Kerr announced $7.6 million in funding for wharf repairs in 2012.

Dexter Construction demolished the middle ell in October 2012 at a cost of $444,000.

McNally Construction dredged the area where the middle ell was, drove the metal pilings and installed the gangway and floating dock system in early 2013 at a cost of $614,000.

Tri-County Construction of Yarmouth installed new fender piles to the inside and outside face of the old section of wharf, out to where the former middle ell used to be. That project cost $173,000.

D.J. Lowe Construction made repairs to the marginal wharf (along the edge of the parking lot), rebolting and replacing rotting supports under the wharf this summer.

That section of the wharf was constructed in 1967 and hadn’t needed any major repairs until now.

That project started in mid-March and cost $146,000.

Western Specialty Contractors dumped 175,000 tonnes of rock to build the new breakwater for $4 million.

Sunderland said in July this year that once the concrete work is done, the wharf maintenance should be manageable for the wharf association going forward.

“Every aspect of the wharf we had wanted to fix back in 2008 will be addressed,” he said. “Our goal was to put the wharf in a condition where the maintenance would be manageable—that is, it could be managed by the board without any more major infrastructure projects.

“It is gratifying to see the wharf put in this condition for the fleet. It is gratifying for the board and for me.”

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