Crumbling Down?

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By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Tuesday, April 26, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Sean Smarz of North Woodstock takes in the view atop the deteriorating sea wall at North Beach on Sunday afternoon.
[Photo by Jamie Cohen]

HAMPTON -- Residents who live at North Beach say the sea wall is an eyesore and needs to be repaired.

"It's despicable," said Hampton resident Gerald Dignam. "There has been no maintenance and it is deteriorating. They let it go for so long and now it's ready to fall down."

Dignam recently sent letters to Hampton's state representatives, complaining about the condition of the wall.

Tom Mansfield, department architect for the state Department of Revenue and Economic Development, agrees the wall needs to be repaired.

He said that's why the department is pushing for a $2 million project to patch the sea wall at North Beach and to finish replacing the sea wall at Hampton Beach.

Whether the projects become a reality depends on whether the state Legislature opts to fund them.

He expects to find out in May.

Mansfield said it's a priority to fix the sea wall at Hampton Beach.

The first 900 feet of the project was completed two years ago at a price tag of $300,000.

The proposed project for this year is to finish reconstruction of the wall and railing, which is badly corroded, from Rocky Bend to the Seashell stage.

The project entails reinforcing the concrete and adding new railing.

Mansfield said it's so bad that one of the railings on the wall fell off last year.

That section of wall was replaced temporarily with a Jersey barrier, which is used for highway lanes.

"It's definitely an eyesore," said Mansfield.

Mansfield said the state plans to patch the sea wall on North Beach.

"There is a lot of wear and tear," he said.

The wear and tear is caused by the salt water. The waves wash over the wall, and the salt gets into the concrete, which causes it to corrode.

Mansfield said both wall projects depend on funding.

"In the state parks in general there is a lot deterioration to the infrastructure," said Mansfield. "We are trying to use the money we get as effectively as we can."

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