MISSION BAY, Calif. -- With some help from the city of San Diego, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officially began much-anticipated repairs of the Mission Bay middle jetty.

Standing before a bank of television cameras and newspaper reporters, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders spoke of the beauty residents and visitors enjoy at Mission Bay and of the unseen dangers that lie below.

"Like many San Diego vistas, the view here is beautiful," Sanders said. "But don't let your eyes deceive you. Lurking at the end of the Mission Bay Channel are countless massive hidden rocks that pose a serious threat to boaters. San Diego's lifeguards have a nickname for the mouth of the Mission Bay Channel: 'Disasters.' "

The Corps will eliminate those disasters with a $2.289 million stimulus project that will place about 800 stones at the seaward end of the jetty, extending it about 250 feet and returning the structure to its original design. Connolly-Pacific, of Long Beach, Calif., will place the stones, weighing between eight and 24 tons each, in an intricate interlocking pattern that will increase the jetty's stability.

"The result will be a waterway that is not only beautiful, but safe," Sanders said.

Speaking along with Sanders was Lt. Rick Wurts, spokesman for San Diego County Lifeguard Service. Wurts said the dispersed jetty creates a hazard for boaters, citing numerous rescues of mariners aboard commercial and recreational vessels that have made their way onto the rocks.

"This work will create a much safer environment," Wurts said.

Nichelle Smith, the project engineer for the Corps, said the eight-ton stones will form the inner backbone of the jetty, with the 24-ton stones placed along the exterior for armoring.

Scott John, the Corps' project manager for Mission Bay jetty repairs, said the project includes the placement of a new navigation beacon at the end of the jetty.

Connolly-Pacific will transport the stones by barge from its quarry on Catalina Island. Steve Schryver, the firm's vice president, estimates the job will require five to six barge-loads of stone. He said the 90-day project will employ about 16 workers at the quarry, 11 crane and equipment operators, surveyors and deckhands at the jetty, and three tow boat operators to transport the new stone to the site.

Economists estimate the work will create an additional 32 jobs in industries supplying or supporting the construction, performing operations and maintenance activities, and selling goods and services to the workers and their families.

Stimulus contracts, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that President Barack Obama signed into law Feb. 17, are intended to help in the recovery of the U.S. economy. The Act, referred to as the "stimulus package," appropriates nearly $184 million for project construction, operations and maintenance activities, and completion of studies for Corps projects in Southern California, Arizona and portions of Nevada.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16