Baldwin County reveals plan to fix crooked boat ramps at The Launch at ICW

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 7:21 PM CDT
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ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) - A Fox 10 News investigation is getting results. Demolition of the courtesy piers at Baldwin County’s new boat launch got underway Tuesday, May 3, 2022. They will be torn out and moved in order to align them properly with the boat ramps.

Disassembly of courtesy piers at The Launch at ICW began Tuesday as the first step in fixing...
Disassembly of courtesy piers at The Launch at ICW began Tuesday as the first step in fixing the issue with crooked ramps(Hal Scheurich)

What goes up must come down. Unfortunately, that’s the case with all four courtesy piers at The Launch at ICW. Fox 10 News was first made aware of issues at the launch two weeks ago, after complaints came in that folks were having trouble loading their boats straight on the trailer.

It was discovered that the piers were out of line and all parties involved with the construction began working on a solution.

“I feel really good that we’ve got a path forward to fix this and make it right,” Baldwin County Engineer, Joey Nunnally said. “This boat launch is going to be very nice. We had a little setback. We’re going to work through it and it’s going to be very nice in the end.”

A proposed fix was submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers a week ago because some of the changes could impact a Corps easement. It’s the changes that don’t require Corps approval that got underway Tuesday. It will take time, but county officials are optimistic progress will be made before things get too busy.

“We’re hoping to have almost a fully functional boat launch as planned during Memorial Day weekend as well as hoping to shoot for the Fourth of July weekend to be back fully functional and operational,” said Baldwin County Commission Chairman, Jeb Ball.

That’s good news to both residents and visiting boaters to the area, who are pleased to see work already starting to make things right.

“Given the fact that I think this was seventeen million dollars, I’m not surprised that they’re working on it this soon because I think a lot of people would be very disappointed at the outcome, the way it was built,” explained Fairhope resident and boat owner, Dave Baker.

“I’m happy and I’m happy this nice, new facility is here,” said Tennessee resident and local homeowner, Al Fowler. “Very happy because there was very few places to launch your boat and the parking filled up so fast that you couldn’t launch your boat at most other places.”

Commissioner Ball said at no time during the reconstruction process should all ramps be closed…only the ones being worked on at that time.

Nunnally said taxpayers will not have to pick up the tab for what the fix will cost since the mistake was made by the engineering company that designed it. There is no estimate on the cost of the fix because he said it will depend largely on how much of the wood can be salvaged and reused.

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