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Tsunami damage not just in harbor

Rocks that slipped down from the seawall are dug out of the sand during the project to repair damage near Beachfront Park from the 2011 tsunami. When not enough were uncovered, the city asked the state for more money to bring in another 150 tons of rock for restoring the seawall.
Rocks that slipped down from the seawall are dug out of the sand during the project to repair damage near Beachfront Park from the 2011 tsunami. When not enough were uncovered, the city asked the state for more money to bring in another 150 tons of rock for restoring the seawall. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Repairs under way to damaged seawalls at Crescent City’s Beachfront Park and a city-owned RV park are a reminder that the 2011 tsunami’s toll was not confined to the local port.

While the $20 million-plus worth of damage to Crescent City Harbor from the tsunami triggered by an earthquake near Japan overshadows other impacts the disaster had in Del Norte County, infrastructure at Crescent City’s flagship park recently needed mending.

Seven-foot high tsunami surges damaged the revetment that protects Beachfront Park from the Pacific Ocean’s high tides and winter waves. Pieces of rock slope material slipped down onto the beach below as a result of the tsunami.

“The rock barrier prevents the revetment from being slowly washed away and eroded by high tides and storm events,” said Kevin Tupman, engineering technician for Crescent City’s public works department, as he supervised construction Wednesday.

The $45,000 project is being funded by the California Office of Emergency Services (formerly California Emergency Management Agency), and involves the installation of 350 tons of rock on 900 feet of seawalls (revetments) near the mouth of Elk Creek. Both the Beachfront Park side of the creek and Shoreline RV Park and Campground will be restored to the way they were before the tsunami, Tupman said.

The original project plan called for digging up rocks and concrete that had slipped down from the seawall and were buried in the sand.  But after the city recovered less than half of the rock it expected to recycle, officials had to go back to the state to ask for an additional $10,000 for 150 tons of more rock, Tupman said.

The project, contracted to Hemmingsen Construction, uses larger 1-ton and half-ton rocks for the main structure, and then smaller rocks are wedged in the cracks to keep the rock barrier in place, Tupman said. 

Contractors and city workers have had to work around high tides and the configuration of Elk Creek, which had snaked too close to the revetment adjacent to the RV park to be completed two weeks ago when construction started.

After the weekend rainstorm dropped several inches throughout Del Norte County, Elk Creek’s mouth moved closer to the center, making it possible to finish the work, Tupman said.

“It protects from potential future damage,” said Tupman, who expected the project to be finished this week.

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