CLEVELAND - As millions of Americans sat down to Thanksgiving dinner four years ago, the effects of Superstorm Sandy were still being felt across Northeast Ohio.
The worst of it was not even the downed trees, lines or even the shattered roofs.
It was along Cleveland’s break wall.
“We had just slightly under a mile of the wall damaged, to the point where it was not going to be effective and not going to have the longevity that we need to protect the shipping channel on this eastern end,” said Tom Mullenhour, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
According to FEMA, Sandy was the second-most expensive hurricane in U-S history and second only to Hurricane Katrina.
When it reached Ohio, 70-mile an hour winds kicked up waves along Lake Erie, ruining the artery that allowed ships in and out.
The Army Corps of Engineers fought for $35 million federal dollars to create a stronger wall by using six and a half ton casts called “dolosse.”
It turned out to be an economic win for the region, since the contract to build them went to Valley View-based Allega Concrete.
The company made 18,000 dolosse. Over the past several months, they have been installed in Lake Erie like a super-sized game of Jenga.
“There’s many faces on them,” Dennis Kramer of Allega said. “So when the waves hit them, it dissipates the wave energy and actually locks them together and helps them protect the break wall.”
It has been the region’s single most expensive Sandy cleanup project to date. If a similar storm should strike in the future, the region will be better protected.
Here is our photo gallery of the breakwall: