Army Corps of Engineers denies fast ferry dock construction in Old Harbor

Sat, 04/25/2020 - 10:15am
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The application to build a dock to accommodate a proposed fast ferry service between Quonset and Block Island has been denied by the Army Corps of Engineers, town attorney Kathy Merolla announced at a virtual Town Council meeting on Thursday, April 23.

The letter from the Army Corps of Engineers states: “The subject proposal involves construction of a pile-supported fixed pier and three dolphins” — structures built to protect piers from the impact of ships — “in place of the existing Ballard's Wharf Marina floats. The new structures would serve to accommodate a new high speed ferry, as well as a crew transfer vessel servicing the Block Island Offshore Wind Farm. The structures are proposed to extend into and occupy a portion of the footprint of” the Block Island Harbor of Refuge Federal Navigation Project (FNP).

The Army Corps stated: “Based on our evaluation, the USACE denies the request to alter the FNP because the construction of the structure (pile supported fixed pier and three dolphins) in the footprint of the portion of the Federal anchorage is not commensurate with the purpose of a congressionally authorized federal project.”

The Rhode Island CRMC, in a separate letter, stated the project could not go forward without approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.

The owner of the location for the proposed dockage in Old Harbor, Paul Filippi, said he had plans to move ahead with the project and would elaborate at a later date.