Construction work continues on the Long Beach seawall at 3 compromised sections: two 500′ sections (one is closer to the Gloucester edge and the second pretty much mid beach) and a third 30′ area of trouble at the corner by the creek and footbridge. Last summer’s temporary pyres have been vastly expanded with truckloads of boulders from Johnson’s Quarry. The line of boulders helps to prevent sand from being scoured away by seas and the bottom of the wall from further erosion. The rip rap will add ballast support weight.
Besides the crew at Long Beach, the second unit labors at the quarry. It’s slow and careful going impacted by weather and tides. This week was busy. Next week’s conditions are less favorable. Extra time is allotted to make certain heavy equipment beats the tides or the very real possibility of large equipment breaks or malfunction (thankfully has not happened yet). People wondered if a jetty or two was in the works but that is simply temporary staging.
Boulders are deposited at the Gloucester entrance to the beach and transferred to repair sites. Excavators work with Rockport DPW and GZA engineers for optimum selection. (GZA was contracted for Gloucester’s Stacy Boulevard work.) “Spotters” can be seen atop the Long Beach walkway. After the boulders are dumped into piles, the excavator sorts, lifts, rolls and inspects the whole lot and singles like searching for an impossibly hard to find puzzle piece. Sometimes one boulder is turned 15x before it’s the correct pitch or timing. The sorting was remarkably graceful and reminded me of rinsing and prepping berries or beans.
One day at Long Beach I spotted a swimmer with a glorious and faithful arm tattoo of Mary Ann from Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. He was staying at Cape Ann Motor Inn. Did he know that the author and illustrator, Virginia Lee Burton, was from Gloucester? He was stunned and thrilled. She modeled the steam shovel after one she brought her son to see busy building Gloucester High School. Families with little construction fans might enjoy watching Mary Ann’s descendant shoring up the Long Beach seawall.
The timeline for permits and planning for a future sand phase have not been slated.