Seawalls at Milford’s Point Beach to be repaired

An aerial photo of the Point Beach area of Milford, showing the locations for proposed repairs to the seawall and stairs.

An aerial photo of the Point Beach area of Milford, showing the locations for proposed repairs to the seawall and stairs.

RACE Coastal Engineering / Contributed

MILFORD — Point Beach Improvement Association has some work to do.

The association, at the Milford Planning and Zoning Board meeting last week, received approval to perform repairs at four different locations, with work focused on seawalls and stairs, according to Matthew Rakowski, RACE Coastal Engineering project manager.

One of the sites is a seawall repair at 0 Atwater St. The second is another seawall repair on Coolridge Drive. The third seawall is on Elane Road and a concrete jetty at Platt Street.

“On this project, due to the location to the coastal jurisdiction line, (a) Connecticut Environmental Protection license has been issued for all four of these sites, as well as a self-verification has been accepted by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of this project,” said Rakowski.

Jay Pinto, Point Beach Improvement Association chair, said the group has been trying to get this project done for many years, and has raised funds to do so.

“If you go down to that area, it’s a crumbling seawall into the Long Island Sound,” he said. “It’s at a point of basic failure where it’s critical that this gets done as soon as possible.”

Rakowski explained the Atwater site consists of concrete slabs on top with a seawall on the face and public access stairs to the water.

“At this site, the association is seeking to repair a section of the slab and a section of the upper seawall due to deterioration that has occurred over the years and damage that has taken place along the access stairs,” he said.

The project at Atwater Street is being combined with city infrastructure regarding an outfall extension that comes right through the associations’ seawall, noted Rakowski.

“There will be additional safety rails on the waterfront and reconstructing the beach access from the slab down to the beach,” he said.

At Coolridge Road, the upper slab of the seawall has come apart and fallen at the beach area, said Rakowski.

“There are sections of the wall which used to be faced against the existing stone seawall. Those sections are starting to peel away and starting to fall away from the original seawall,” he said. “And there is damage to the access stairs from the slab down to the beach.”

The repair would be to replace the upper slab of the seawall, install a new safety guard along the water and replace the access stairs down to the beach, explained Rakowski.

“There are similar repairs to the previous two at Elane Road,” said Rakowski. “The upper slab is deteriorating, and kind of falling apart at the waterfront, and the existing seawall is deteriorating with significant cracking and pieces starting to fall away. The access stairs to the beach at the bottom have deteriorated, creating a hazard to get down to the beach.”

Like the Atwater site, the Point Beach Improvement Association is working with the city to replace the outfall that goes through the wall as the repairs are being made, Rakowski added.

Board member James Kader asked if these projects are considered normal maintenance or if these will be recurring enhancements.

“The wall has been repaired a few times in the past, and that is evident from what we’ve seen when we did the site investigations,” said Rakowski. “The original wall, I believe, predates 1965. The repair we are proposing for this project would be a longer-term solution, basically creating a new mask to the wall itself.

“We are seeing that the existing repairs or patches that have been done in the past haven’t been tied to the old wall,” Rakowski added. “They’ve almost just been facades, so they’ve been chipping away and slowly falling apart.”

The concrete jetty that is currently at Platt Street is deteriorating, and over time, it has shifted and moved.

“The association is seeking to restore the jetty by placing new blocks and re-founding it on better soils,” said Rakowski. “The jetty was originally constructed, I believe for sediment transport, but we have not looked into the depth of what it was serving in the past. The goal of this is just to maintain that structure so that it doesn't damage and the loss of that structure creates some unknown concerns.”