Port of Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.
Port of Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.

The main breakwater outside the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex needs about $20 million in emergency repairs to fix breaches and near-breaches caused by heavy surf from Hurricane Marie, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday.

The repair estimate is for 11 major damage areas caused to the port’s middle breakwater during the high surf that pounded the Southern California coast late last month, according to the corps. Dozens of other damage areas were identified on the breakwater and the two other breakwaters outside the port. The cost of repairing all the additional damage is still being tabulated.

“The structural integrity of the breakwaters has been compromised, especially at the middle breakwater,” according to a statement from the corps. “As with all these types of structures, once they start to come apart they are very susceptible to greater damage following any additional significant wave event. Breaches of the breakwater will allow greater transmission of wave energy into the inner portions of the harbor.”

According to the corps, the breakwater is still functional under normal wave conditions, however, “its functionality has been compromised and will decrease as wave height increases.”

The corps noted that the probability of strong wave conditions over the coming months increases the risk of damage to the harbor itself and the possibility of impacting or delaying operations at the port.

“The hurricane season still has two months to go and will be followed directly by the winter storm season,” according to the corps. “Therefore, repairs to breached areas should be made immediately. The cost of potential loss of operations, should a future significant wave or storm event strike the breakwater, given its damaged state, has not been determined.”

Officials with the corps said they are looking into funding options for carrying out the emergency repairs.

The middle breakwater at the port is 18,500 feet long, and the major damage areas cover about 1,550 feet, according to the corps.

City News Service

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