Breakwall, road suffer due to wind and water in Dunkirk


DUNKIRK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Lake Erie pounded the barrier between land and water in Dunkirk as fierce winds swept the waves inward this week.

Huge stone blocks from the top of the break wall along Lakefront Boulevard became separated and even pushed into the road. The wall is only three years old. It cost $4 million to build. So now, the city is bringing in a different engineer than the ones who built it to figure out how to fix it.

“It appears that we can make repairs by pinning the top block and the top wall cap into the lower sections of the wall,” said Gus Maas, of GPI Engineers out of Pennsylvania. “One of the things we’re gonna look at with the city is work with the US Army Corps of Engineers for possibly a segmented offshore break wall, which could reduce stress on that wall in the future.”

“Right now it’s been recommended by County Emergency Services to close this road for at least a week while we study it and decide what we’re going to do,” said Randy Woodbury, director of public works for the City of Dunkirk. “We had a high lake level and then the winds of course cause the seiche and when the winds come down from the northeast, the seiche pushes all the high water, we’re getting the Canadian water on the American shore and the lake is at least eight to ten feet higher along that wall.”

The damage is expected to be in the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.

Lifelong Dunkirk resident, John Scott couldn’t believe his eyes Friday morning. “When Mother Nature can do that kind of damage on a wall that’s supposed to last for years and years and years, I think she’s winning.”

On Friday morning, Dunkirk resident Rob Rosplock shared photos of the damage done along the shoreline.

In the photos, the breakwall is seen broken and dismantled, and the road is covered in water.

A high wind warning took effect across western New York Thursday night, leading to downed trees, closed schools and no power for many people across the region.

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