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City plans overhaul at Ego Alley

A major project on the Annapolis waterfront should not affect boaters, according to the harbormaster

A major project on the Annapolis waterfront should not affect boaters, according to the harbormaster

An $8.8 million project to replace most of the bulkhead on the AnnapolisCity waterfront will begin immediately after the boat shows in October and be completed in late April, 2008, according to city officials. The bulkhead, made of steel sheets driven up to 80 feet into the earth, will begin on Spa Creek at the edge of the NavalAcademy property and wrap around deep into Ego Alley, according to harbor master Ulrich Dahlgren.

The impact on recreational boaters will be minimal, Dahlgren says. “The only program we won’t have is our winter storage program, which affects a limited number of boats,” he says. Under that program, boaters are rented the city’s slips in Ego Alley from November through March, with many staying in town as liveaboards. “We designed the [overhaul] project to avoid having a disruptive impact on our most profitable part of the season,” the harbor master says.

The project, funded primarily with city and Maryland state funds, will replace the City Dock boardwalk and upgrade the electrical service in the area, according to Ray Weaver, a city spokesman. It will include a “complete redesign” of SusanC.CampbellPark.

Harry Sandrouni, project engineer for the city, says the bulk of the construction will be done during winter months.

It’s been a while since the city put a bulkhead in. “As far as we can tell, [it] was sometime back in the ’60s or ’70s,” says Dahlgren. “They put a very short wooden bulkhead, which doesn’t go down far enough to prevent the soil ... from flowing” out from under the bulkhead and into the creek, he says. The result is visible in sags in the pavement, he says.

“From the standpoint of engineering a stable structure, the most significant change will be we’re using steel sheet pile,” Dahlgren says.

The most obvious change for boaters will be in the width of the 20 slips the city maintains along Ego Alley, according to Dahlgern. “All of the slips will be wider,” he says. “Now we have a whole bunch of narrow slips.” The narrowest is 11 feet, 9 inches, says the harbor master. Only one slip is 15 feet wide, he says.

“They were designed in the days when the boats that came here were mostly sailboats and work boats.” In the last 30 years, however, the designers of recreational power boats have created beamier craft. The result has been difficulty finding a place for many visiting powerboaters, according to Dahlgren.

When the project is completed, that problem will be solved by extending the slip area along the bulkhead 30 or 40 feet toward the dinghy dock at the end of Ego Alley, Dahlgren says. That extra space will be distributed among the 20 slips, creating 10 wide ones and 10 smaller slips, he says.

Sandrouni says the plan during construction is to use 23 percent of the parking space near the harbor master’s office for construction purposes, leaving the rest available for motorists. “You need to have some equipment on land,” he notes, adding that contractors will do most of the work on barges.

“My barge is going in the day after the final boat show in October, and we aren’t stopping until we are finished,” Public Works director John Patmore says in a press release announcing the project. “I have promised the mayor that we will be finished in time for the Maritime Heritage Festival in May 2008, so let’s hope we have another mild winter next year.”