State Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who chairs the MRBA, said, “The city of Newburyport has done studies on how much weight the roads will take, and that has been conveyed to the construction officials. We feel this project can be done safely.”
Leaders of the MRBA, made up of local, state and federal officials with authority relating to the oceanfront, say they want to fortify the north jetty as well, but there are no funds for that at present.
In a separate development, MRBA leaders say they will direct a letter to the Corps stating they are interested in utilizing about 700,000 cubic yards of sediment recently dredged from the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth.
Tarr and others have said that the sediment, which contains both fine and course sand, could be dumped perhaps 20 feet from the shore on Plum Island to serve as “beach nourishment.”
The Corps recently finished a dredging project in New Hampshire and appears willing to send the sediment to a beach community that is interested. The sediment would be sold under market price, perhaps about $2.75 per cubic yard rather than $14 per cubic yard.
“This is an incredible amount of sediment at bargain-basement prices,” said Tom Hughes, a scientist who heads Hughes Environmental Consulting in Newburyport and Concord, who attended the session.
Tarr, upon hearing the town of Wells, Maine, is among communities that has also expressed interest in obtaining the sediment, said the MRBA will send a letter to the Corps expressing interest. He urged officials of Newburyport, Newbury and Salisbury to also approach the Corps to convey their interest.
Such an infusion would be at least two years away if the Corps does decide to send the material to Plum Island.
In that time, officials still must determine who would pay for transporting and dumping the sand.