The blast of frigid temperatures-- including at least one well-below zero morning-- created ice in the harbor this week, and caused the Harbor Springs Municipal Marina dredging project to come to a freezing halt.
"With the sudden onset of harsh winter conditions, dredging contractor Ryba Marine has experienced serious equipment and safety issues brought on by the severe cold and wind," said city manager Tom Richards.
Richards noted Ryba requested the city consider suspending the dredging-- which was originally slated to be completed this week-- with the guarantee of resuming operations as soon as weather permits in the spring.
"After discussions with the engineer, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the trucking company hauling the dredging material, an amendment to the agreement was reached," Richards said.
It included the following details: contract completion is extended to May 14 (with a liquidated damages penalty); cleanup is to be completed by May 21; lake ice removal will be provided by the contractor if necessary; boat launch area is to be cleaned and secured to prevent erosion or run-off issues; Ryba's tug and barges will be stored for the winter at the Harbor Springs docks; dredge disposal contractor commits to completion with the extension date; the contractor takes responsibility for all related expenses.
The dredging project, which also included dredging at the city's launch ramp in Jo Ford Park, was paid for by the State of Michigan.
"We are confident that this delay is the best and safest course to take to ensure that the job is completed safely and with minimal complications for the city, contractor, and community," Richards said.