High winds and high water levels in Lake Erie caused some recent damage that will have to be repaired before the Erie Basin Marina reopens in May.
Damage was caused by three windstorms that struck Buffalo on Oct. 31, Nov. 21 and Nov. 27, said Jim Marinello, general manager of Smith Boys Marina, which is hired by the City of Buffalo to operate the downtown tourist attraction.
The marina itself is closed each year from Oct. 15 until May 1, but the road leading from the marina’s entrance to the observation tower overlooking Buffalo Harbor is kept open for sightseers year-round. High winds and waves that soared up onto the roadway caused damage to trees on the shoreline, Marinello said.
“Because of storms, we’ve had to close that road three times in the past month, and we’ve had to repair some damage,” Marinello said. “We will continue to close the marina road any time there is a public danger due to these storms. In the past we’ve had docks damaged and cars knocked over because of the waves that came up over the breakwall.”
The worst of the storms, on Halloween, caused a barge to crash into the marina’s metal breakwall, destroying about 30 feet of the breakwall and sidewalk. Workers on the barge had been repairing the north breakwater in Buffalo Harbor.
“Because of the danger of the storm, we allowed the barge crew to come in and dock at the marina, but the strong waves caused the barge to crash into our breakwall,” Marinello told The Buffalo News on Friday.
He said the company that operated the barge, which was contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair the north breakwater, will pay for repairs to the Erie Basin Marina’s breakwall and sidewalk.