By Guy Busby, Government Editor, email@example.com
ORANGE BEACH – Design flaws in the new Baldwin County boat launch site on the Intracoastal Waterway have pushed back the official open for the facility, a county statement said Thursday.
Gov. Kay Ivey was scheduled to take part in an opening ceremony for the Launch at ICW site in Orange Beach. The event has been postponed and a new date will be announced, the statement said.
Joey Nunnally, Baldwin County engineer, said Friday, April 22, that boaters using the facility reported problems with the site.
“The slope of the ramp and the angle of the piers are making it a little difficult to load a boat up,” Nunnally said.
The problems were reported to county officials Monday, April 18, the statement said.
Nunnally said county officials are meeting with contractors and engineers to find a solution, but he could not say when the problem would be fixed. “It might be a day or two before we have a final answer for what we’re going to do,” Nunnally said.
He said the official opening was scheduled for Thursday, April 28, but the county had allowed boaters to begin using the ramp site earlier in April.
“The positive thing about doing a soft opening is that we discovered a few issues that we have to address,” Nunnally said. “So, that was not all bad.”
The launch is located in Orange Beach on a 45-acre site on the Intracoastal Waterway at the south end of the Baldwin Beach Express. The low bid for the project was $9.39 million. Work on the project began in 2021.
The facility includes six boat launch ramps, parking and restrooms.
The project was paid for through $10.7 million in county and state funds provided through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, known as GOMESA, according to previous reports. The GOMESA program provides revenue from offshore oil and gas leases for states in the northern Gulf that allow drilling off their shores.
The remaining $1.3 million in GOMESA funds were scheduled to be used for projects associated with the launch site.