Construction begins during peak boating season; port district says work had to start now to maintain funding.
SAN DIEGO — Boaters hoping to launch a boat into San Diego Harbor might be blaring Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” from their vehicle or vessel speakers, what with the redevelopment of Shelter Island Boat Launch Ramp officially underway at the height of boating season.
The Port of San Diego officially began construction on the Shelter Island Boat Launch Ramp renovation project a few weeks ago. Some boaters have complained about the timing of the renovation, wondering why construction began as summer swung into full force.
One lane of the 10-lane boat launch ramp remains open as the construction work on the venue’s renovation is officially underway.
“Why wasn’t this orchestrated and completed in the off season [as] there are times when this would have caused absolutely no inconvenience,” one reader wrote to The Log. “Apart from that, this is the height of the tourist season and weddings are abundant in this area and there was no justifiable reason to make our waterfront look so hideous at this time of the year. Who is responsible for this lack of judgment?”
Port district staff quickly responded to The Log’s questions about why construction began in June – as opposed to fall or winter months, when boater traffic and general tourist activity is generally lighter.
Work on the Shelter Island Boat Launch Ramp update coincided with the height of boating season due to funding requirements, according to port district staff.
“The start date for construction is due to the timelines required by the grant from the California Division of Boating and Waterways, which contributed $6.1 million to the $9.6 million project (the remaining $3.5 million came from a grant from California Wildlife Conservation Board),” Brianne Page, a port district spokesperson, told The Log. “The project has a 10-month construction period and the Division of Boating and Waterways grant requires the work to be completed by March 2018, therefore we were required to go into construction by May 2017.
“If we started in October [or later], the construction would have taken until August 2018, putting the grant in jeopardy,” Page continued.
The port district added boaters should benefit from the updated boat launch ramp once it’s completed, and every effort would be taken to complete renovations as fast as possible.
“This improvement project was designed with extensive public outreach,” Page said. “Our goal is to not only deliver on our promise to make the boat launch safer and more navigable, but also to minimize the ramp closure time and impact on our boating community.”
Boaters are still expected to feel the pinch in the meantime.
Only one launch lane is currently operational as the port district continues working on the remainder of the ramp. A portion of the trailer parking area is also blocked off, according to the same reader who was quoted earlier in this story.
“They have completely fenced it off with access for one boat at a time. Also they have fenced off 50 percent of the trailer parking,” the reader stated in his email.
One lane of the boat launch ramp will be available to boaters in July and August; the boat launch ramp would be shut down entirely after the summer. The port district hopes to re-open the boat launch ramp in March 2018, when construction is expected to be complete.
Construction will take place between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, though hours could vary due to tides. Hauling of materials by truck will only take place between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Other boat launch ramps available to the boating public are at Chula Vista Harbor, National City’s Pepper Park, Oceanside Harbor and five locations within San Diego’s Mission Bay.
Shelter Island’s boat launch ramp was built in the 1950s and was updated in 1976 and 2005. The ramp services about 50,000 launches annually, according to the Port of San Diego.
Once completed the new Shelter Island Boat Launch Ramp would include a larger maneuvering area, longer boarding floats, public walking platforms, updated signage and lighting, and ADA compliant docks.
Visit portofsandiego.org/sibl for more information about the renovation project.