May 29, 2020

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Public Can Weigh In on Historic Seawall Repairs at Pax

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The US Navy is planning to rebuild the East Seaplane Basin at Naval Air Station Patuxent River and is seeking public comments on the project.

The historic property, which dates to 1942-43, when the base was originally constructed, was one of three seaplane basins built at Pax when the Navy tested and operated seaplanes.

Although seaplanes were important in World War II, carrier-based planes are now the norm, and the Navy currently has no operational seaplanes. Today, the East Patuxent Seaplane Basin (B-1176) is used for occasional munitions offloading operations, and the other two seaplane basins for port operations and recreational boats.

The proposed repair method involves driving steel sheet piling on the waterside, adjacent to the existing concrete bulkhead walls. The angled batter pilings, which are present along most of the walls, would be removed below the mudline at the bottom of the basin. The caps on the existing walls will be demolished, and the new sheet piles will be anchored inland with tiebacks to deadman pilings. The tieback installations will necessitate cutting, removing, and replacing sections of the existing concrete and asphalt apron along the wall, particularly along the south and east walls.

Traffic Pattern

The basin repairs include the removal of the unused seaplane ramp (B-1170) that is currently in poor condition, with significant deterioration in the intertidal zone, where large holes penetrate the ramp. While the ramp is a historical resource, there are three other seaplane ramps of the same design in the other two basins on the base. One of the other ramps is still functional for recreational boats.

As the project will alter some of the historic characteristics of the seawall, Navy officials have determined the project will have an adverse effect on a historic property, as per the National Historic Preservation Act.

While the Navy says its efforts have minimized these effects, a mitigation program will be implemented.

Those with questions or concerns about the basin seawall project should email Craig Lukezic, cultural resource manager, at craig.lukezic@navy.mil.

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