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Dauphin Island, AL
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Alabama Light House Association
Newsletter -
"Initial Stablization Completed
On Sand Island Light House"

Jim Hall,
Alabama Light House Association Board Member October 16, 2008

Continued existence and the survival of our Sand Island Light House are assured with the first phase of the "stabilization plan" having been completed. This past summer, construction crews rearranged boulders surround the structure, constructed cement forms and inserted extra large rebar reinforcement around the base of the historic light house. On August 6, 2008, cement was pored. Later, specialists installed a cap around the newly installed ring of cement at the tower's base. New brick and motor was put in place repairing the damage during recent hurricanes. Following the cure period, the boulders, rearranged in an organized manner, were tied together with stainless steel cables.

In a Sept. 26, 2008, report from Jack Granade, Thompson Engineering, Mobile, the inspection study stated, "The concrete ring appeared to meet the design specifications. This includes reinforcement, concrete mix, concrete strength and color. No concrete cracking has been observed. The wire rock stabilization was installed as specified."

Warren Lee, the Dauphin Island Light House Committee, said, "FEMA hurricane recovery money covered the cost based on their Historic Landmarks preservation policies. The original stabilization grant - $720,000; a secondary mitigation grant of - $360,125; and, engineering costs - $88.101; FEMA's grand total - $1,168,226. The Town of Dauphin Island is handling the financial transactions.

In September 2007, Thompson Engineering submitted a comprehensive study to the Town of Dauphin Island, owner of the Sand Island Light House, and their partners, the Alabama Light House Association, for a stabilization plan and restoration strategies. The Emergency Stabilization Measures included:
1) Repair the cast iron ring protecting the base. "The original cast iron ring has been extensively damaged as a result of corrosion and the pounding experiences from waves and wave-driven boulders that crash against the lighthouse during storms,"
2) Seal vertical cracks in the masonry from the exterior surface through the interior wall;
3) Install several compression rings around the exterior of the structure to close the vertical cracks in the tower.
4) Repair the additional cast iron ring near the base of the tower;
5) Reattach loose copper roof panels;
6) Stabilize the lowest window on the north side used to gain access to the inside. At the writing of this report, the estimated cost - $1.3 million.

The second phase of Thompson's study is called the "Long Term Restoration Plan." Proposed is restoration and reconstruction of the lighthouse by extensive work on the exterior and the interior, reconstruction of the stairs in the tower, rebuilding of the lantern room atop the structure, design and construction of a man-made island to provide long-term survival and public access. A 1.3-acre island with sand surrounded by a rock wall could be built around the lighthouse, allowing visitors to dock boats and visit the site.

Thompson Engineering proposed several options and cost estimates with various goals. Estimates provided range from $15.9 million to $36 million.
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