Construction ends on Charles Point break wall

COURTESY OF NEWS REPORTS
Stock photo.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction on the Charles Point barrier beach break wall.  

Floods in 2017 broke through the wall in several places, allowing Lake Ontario waters to erode the bluff, jeopardizing and undermining the land supporting homes. The wall is a component of the infrastructure built by the Army Corps decades ago across the mouth of Sodus Bay to protect the bay, homes and businesses from damaging waters, waves and erosion. 

“Over the past few years, Lake Ontario’s historic flooding has battered Wayne County communities and their bays and harbors, and eroded away the vital Charles Point break wall in Sodus Bay,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY. "The Charles Point breakwater wall is a vital shield, protecting Sodus Bay and safeguarding homes on Charles Point bluff from falling into Lake Ontario. No one should have to fear for the safety of their home, but until now families along the Charles Point bluff have had to do just that, as Lake Ontario water levels threatened to cause serious damage. Now, the repaired wall will serve as a shield, improving resiliency along the Lake Ontario shoreline, protecting Sodus Bay and ensuring the safety of our community and their families.” 

The Charles Point wall, together with Crescent Beach and the Army Corps’ navigation channel wall, form a barrier that shields Sodus Bay, but the floods damaged this barrier system by destroying the Charles Point wall and by breaching and washing away entire sections of Crescent Beach land.   

In 2018, the Army Corps allocated $150,000 to design the Charles Point wall repair, then estimated to cost $1.5 million. When the designs revealed $4.5 million would be required to reconstruct and rebuild the Charles Point wall to a higher resiliency standard to prevent future flood damage, there was a push for the Army Corps to allocate the needed funds.  

“The Sodus Point community is breathing a deep sigh of relief, now that Charles Point is secured,” Mayor Dave McDowell said. “This was the highest risk area for catastrophic damage and it has now been averted. We look forward to working with Schumer to secure additional funds for the East breakwater, which is also in need of repair.” 

Eric Depew, past vice president of the Charles Point Homeowner Association, said, "It is an immense relief to see this project come to conclusion after four years in the making, knowing that Charles Point is safe from the ravages of Lake Ontario today and for generations to come." 

Last summer, the Army Corps was awarded the $3.86 million construction contract to build a new structure that replaces the failed 525-foot steel sheet pile wall. A gap in the wall caused increased erosion to the land and bluff behind it. Work started last August and ended in May.