Massachusetts has learned nothing since the Hurricane of 1938, Hurricane Carol in 1954 and Hurricane Bob 20 years ago.
In New Bedford, a hurricane barrier was built in the 1960s by the Army Corps of Engineers with two 440-ton gates. The gates are old now and stayed in the stuck open position for several months in 2009 to make repair of reduction gear.
The Cannon Street power plant on New Bedford Harbor was flooded in 1953 and finally closed in 1998. The toxic plant remains there today.
In 2003, the Coast Guard relocated the Tahoma and the Campbell, both 270-foot cutters from New Bedford, to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.
After the 1938 hurricane during World War II, ship building move inland to the Quonset Point base in Rhode Island and the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy.
We have got to question the decision by Gov. Deval Patrick and the leaders on Beacon Hill to propose building a $36 million ocean wind turbine port
(New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal) behind the hurricane barrier.
The tidal surge from Hurricane Bob was very high at the hurricane barrier with wind speeds of 106 mph.
Storm surge takes Fairhaven by surpriseText Size: A | A | A
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LOGIN | REGISTER | SUBSCRIBEBy ARIEL WITTENBERG
December 27, 2012 6:21 PMPopular Today
6-year-old survives being struck by vehicle on Deane StreetHurricane barrier repairs result in Fairhaven floodingNext storm could bring SouthCoast snow2 injured in Route 140 crash in New Bedford'Founder of New Bedford scalloping' dies at 91Bedbugs resolvedFreetown Salaries 2011FAIRHAVEN — Flooding caught residents of low-lying areas off guard this morning when the hurricane barrier gates remained open due to ongoing repairs and allowed a 5.3-foot storm surge into the harbor.
Fairhaven officials say they were not notified that the repairs would debilitate the barrier's gates and thus were unprepared for the moderate flooding of low-lying areas near Main and Fort streets.
John McPhearson of the Army Corps of Engineers said the organization has been replacing wheels that roll out the 440-ton gates of the barrier in two shifts: one in the spring, before hurricane season, and one in the winter, after hurricane season.
During those repairs, he said, it is possible to “make the gate functional to close during a hurricane or major coastal storm” if there is enough warning to expedite repairs.
But McPhearson said the storm that swept across southwest New England Wednesday night “didn't reach” the level that would require such measures.
“We don't consider it a major coastal storm, so we were out of service this morning,” he said.“The harbor did get a foot higher than we would like to see it.”
McPhearson said the Army Corps sent out multiple notifications about the repairs, one in the spring, one after Hurricane Sandy and one on Dec. 19.
Those notifications were sent out by the Harbor Development Commission on an email list cultivated by the commission.
According to McPhearson, the most recent Dec. 19 email was sent to “remind people that the project was ongoing and that we wouldn't be able to do anything for the moon tides.”
Port Director Jeffrey Stieb said the HDC sent an email to its list as the Army Corps directed and that the list included officials at Fairhaven Shipyard and the Fairhaven Police Department.
Neither Stieb nor McPhearson would release a copy of the email to The Standard-Times.
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