The Broad Creek Public Landing in Darlington, Md., provides important water access to boaters and kayakers, and is the only free public launch on the Susquehanna River above the Conowingo Dam. Although functional, the popular site was in need of repairs, and it did not provide access for boaters or kayakers with disabilities.
However, thanks to a recently completed $409,205 improvement project by Stevensville’s Dissen & Juhn Company, boaters and kayakers are now enjoying enhanced access to the river. In addition to providing ADA accessibility with car and trailer parking, the project scope included installing a stone revetment to replace a deteriorating timber bulkhead; replacing the existing damaged boat ramp with a new ramp constructed of heavy duty, pre-cast concrete planks; installing a new aluminum floating dock with a “kayak cradle” to ease launching kayaks; and enhanced landscaping.
Although the completed project provides many benefits to the recreational boating community in Harford County, it wasn’t without some interesting challenges, namely water levels that fluctuated much more than expected. Although unexpected, the Dissen & Juhn crew tackled it with a creative solution.
“The fluctuating water levels and fluid nature of the silty creek bottom posed particular challenges during construction of the boat ramp,” says Mark Dissen, vice president, Dissen & Juhn Company. “We built a cofferdam to isolate the ramp and installed the pre-cast concrete in the dry,” he adds.
“We call it ‘the pond’,” says David Goodwin, project manager, Harford County Department of Parks & Recreation. “It is controlled by the hydroelectric plant. There was a substantial difference in range from what we accounted for in our project description. Dissen & Juhn installed the cofferdam and stayed pretty much on schedule, completing the project in time for the boating season,” Goodwin adds.
“Our firm fortunately has the technical competence, equipment and well-trained staff to deal with unforeseen changes in site conditions in a timely and cost effective manner,” adds Dissen.
“I enjoyed working with Ray (McMasters), Mark (Dissen) and the crew. Everyone was genuinely nice and demonstrated a wealth of experience. You don’t always get all of those things in a contractor. We interacted well together like a good working machine. Communications and coordination were particularly good,” says Goodwin.
The project was funded by Harford County government, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Waterway Improvement Fund, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Sport Fish Restoration Program.
Dissen & Juhn Company has been serving the needs of waterfront property owners for more than 43 years, completing more than 1,000 marine construction projects for public and private sector clients, including marina owner-operators, counties and towns, as well as the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Coast Guard. The firm serves the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, the Potomac River, and northern Virginia.
In addition to providing dredging and pile driving services, Dissen & Juhn has extensive experience in the design and construction of timber vehicular and pedestrian bridges and boardwalks, fixed and floating docks, breakwaters, living shorelines, bulkheads and stone revetments, boat ramps, and a variety of other marine structures.