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Question DetailsAsked on 4/27/2017

cost of 120' river bulkhead replacement?

It is a bulkhead protecting the property from erosion by river waves.

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Cost varies widely depending on soil type, permitting requirements and costs, river velocity, groundwater height, wall height and height of soil behind it, required safety fencing and lifesaving features (if right on or in the water), construction materials, variation in height of river level it has to survive (and possibly overtopping in flooding too), what type of floating/ semi-submerged debris or logs floats down the river that it has to survive, etc.

Wall removal and replacement can run from on the order of, for a very shallow embedment (lake or very low river velocity and negligable waves) wall for VERY roughly $15-25/SF for concrete block-type, $10-40/SF for normal heavy timbers (railroad tie sized, though use of creosoted timbers is out in many states) on wood embedded posts, commonly more like $40-70/SF for concrete (precast or cast-in-place) or riprap, on up to $100/SF+ for a tall one or one to survive heavy erosional forces or ice jams or log jams or significant overtopping in floods, or large waves.

The contractor category would be Dock Building and Repair (in the Services areas) - but normally for the design and permitting and such you would start with a Civil Engineering firm (no Angies List category for that) with experience in marine/waterfront permitting and construction, especially since this is within a river wave zone so likely subject to Section 401 and 404 (Clean Water and navigable Waterways) as well as likely wildlife permitting.

It is quite probable that even if it required no permit originally, it will require substantial permitting and a number of applications and reviews under current laws. In many cases, bulkheads/retaining walls are converted to sloping revetments or stone-faced slopes or something more natural like planting of erosion-resistant natural vegetation to ease construction permit limitations.

One consideration to discuss with the designer is whether rebuilding essentially identicallyo as a "repair", perhaps even breaking it into 2-3 segments to be done over the years to avoid it being a more than 50% replacement (which commonly kick in "new construction" regulations, will be simpler to permit than a whole new wall or total removal at one time and reconstruction. Sometimes is quite a bit simpler, especially for grandfathered walls which would not be allowed to be built in that location today.

Anotehr option I have done on occassions where permitting is very tough is placing concrete revetment mattress, gabions, or riprap on the existing ground surface BEHIND the bulkhead (so not in the current wetted zone) which then collapses over the eroding bank as it wears away - so one is not building a retaining structure in the water or below the high water mark, but rather mother nature is undermining the erosion-protection material, whcih then slumps over the eroding face and limits or stops the erosion. Can be an effective measure, particularly where current laws frown on or prohibit construction of an erosion-control measure at the water edge or in the water.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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