By Amanda Kerr, email@example.com | 757-247-4733
December 15, 2012
YORK — Officials with the Colonial National Historical Park are moving forward with plans to address shoreline erosion along the Colonial Parkway that a report described as an imminent threat to the secnic roadway.
A report released by the park for public review and comment outlines plans for a project to repair and stabilize a 4.2-mile stretch of York River shoreline along the Colonial Parkway. The first phase of the project will focus on around 1,300 feet of shoreline near Indian Field Creek.
Dorothy Geyer, natural resource specialist with the Colonial National Historical Park, said the park is seeking $3.9 million from the National Park Service to repair the entire four-mile stretch and that funding is tentatively budgeted for fiscal year 2016. The Indian Field Creek project, which is on track to begin in the next month, will cost between $500,000 to $750,000 and will be funded through revenue from the park's entrance fee, Geyer said.
Shoreline and storm water erosion has been an ongoing problem for the Colonial Parkway along both the James and York rivers. Over the last 10 years, Geyer said the park has had to make emergency repairs at a number of sites on both the James River and York River sides of the parkway due to extreme erosion and pavement collapse caused by hurricanes, tropical storms and nor'easters.
"Those repairs were more crisis management," she said. "We want to avoid that in this case."
The York River shoreline is of particular concern, Geyer said, because of "strong wave action" from storms that hit the shoreline between Felgates Creek and Yorktown.
The report said strong storms in late 2009, including a nor'easter, "markedly increased shoreline recession" along that area of the York River. The Indian Field Creek area was chosen for immediate repairs and improvements because of aggressive erosion along Bellfield Bluff, the report said.
The bluff is "especially at risk because of riverbank slumping and the formation of gully erosion in close proximity to the road surface," the report said.
Geyer said the edge of the bluff is eroding from the top while waves are undercutting it from below. The edge of the bluff has already eroded 20 feet over the last 30 years, or just over half a foot a year, and is currently between 10-20 feet from the Colonial Parkway, she said.
"We don't want to get to the point it's within five to six feet of the Parkway," Geyer said.
Erosion of the bluff doesn't just threaten the roadway. Geyer said it also protects the bridge at Indian Field Creek. As the bluff erodes, it leaves the bridge vulnerable to wave action and storm surge, she said.
Repairs will focus on building up existing revetments with a mix of armor stone, splash apron and bluff stone, the report said. Additional soil will help fill in the area behind the revetment.
Geyer said the improvements will make the revetment about four feet taller. Much of the work will be done from the river where the stones will be hauled in by boat, she said.
The Army Corps of Engineers designed the Indian Field Creek project and will supervise construction. The Corps is currently in negotiations with a contractor, Geyer said, and work on the Indian Field Creek project will likely start in January.
The report can be viewed at parkplanning.nps.gov/colo. Comments can be submitted online or mailed to P.O. Box 210 Yorktown, Va. 23690. Comments must be submitted by Thursday, Dec. 20.
To read the report, go to parkplanning.nps.gov/colo.
Public comments on the project are being accepted online or via mail until Thursday, Dec. 20.
Copyright © 2013, Newport News, Va., Daily Press