Boat ramp work under way in CG

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boaters in Lawrence County — and some Coal Grove village officials — can finally breather a sigh of relief as work began yesterday on the often-delayed Coal Grove Boat Ramp.

The project has been in the planning stages since 1997, but soil has begun to be turned, and the completion date is now within reach, said village clerk Debbie Fields.

“(Contractor Allard Excavation) says that it should be done in about three months,” Fields said.

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The ramp is currently being constructed where Ice Creek connects to the Ohio River and will cost around $642,000 all paid for by grants supplied by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Division of Wildlife.

Although the ramp will be one lane, it will feature a two-lane entrance and exit. The area also has been designed to include a blacktop parking lot.

Mark Allard, owner of the South Webster-based excavation company, said that workers have started by demolishing some large trees on the site, and they’ll begin work on their layout next.

After that, things get a bit more complicated as Allard’s team will have to contend with the river. They’ll first be installing metal pilings to create what’s called a dry cell, a 100- by 24-foot area that will have the water pumped out of it.

That cell will be filled with dump rock and then have the ramp installed over top of it. Divers will then go into the water to remove the piling.

That may sound simple, but when dealing with Mother Nature, Allard says that there’s no such thing.

“I guess we’re at what you’d call the mercy of the river,” Allard said with a chuckle. “I mean, you can hold the river back for a while, but you’re not going to hold it back steady from now on.”

Allard said, for example, that if the river went into a flood stage, his crew would have to relocate their equipment and wait for the river to recede.

With any luck though, the waters of the Ohio will hold steady, and boaters will be able to enjoy the new ramp soon.