Little Lagoon Preservation Society

Little Lagoon Preservation Society News

Update on Lagoon Pass Dredging

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Little Lagoon Preservation Society (LLPS) held a members and the general public meeting Thursday, July 16, 5:30 PM, at the Adult Activity Center in Gulf Shores.  Don Powell, Operations Engineer with ALDOT and Dr. Bret Webb with the USA Department of Engineering spoke with and answered audience questions concerning delays in opening the pass, seawall design, and natural coastal processes.  A dredging trigger was issued by the City of Gulf Shores on May 15.    


Meeting Minutes

In case you could not attend, here are minutes documenting most discussions and questions from the meeting concerning dredging at the pass:



July 16, 2015

A quarterly meeting of Little Lagoon Preservation Society was held at the Gulf Shores Adult Activity Center at 6:00pm on Thursday, July 16, 2015.  In the absence of President Barney Gass, Dennis Hatfield presided.  The meeting was preceded by 30 minutes of social time and refreshments. 

Lagoon Pass and Bridge.  Guest speakers for the evening were Don Powell, ALDOT Mobile area Operations Engineer and Dr. Brian Webb, Associate Professor USA Department of Engineering.  They addressed the problems associated with the opening of the pass following the certification of “Trigger” conditions for dredging by the city on May 15 and Don told us that the construction phase of the bridge and pass is essentially complete. 

The larger than usual audience (~40) was offered an opportunity to comment and question.  Inefficiency of the dredging was a primary concern as was the capacity of the dredge, apparent down time, the delay between notification and dredging, and the possible existence of performance clauses in the current dredging contract.  Also discussed was the concept of "extending the seawall" with rip rap to the existing beach/water interface rather than maintaining the current configuration ($$$ saving for ALDOT?).  Dennis commented that the final pass configuration (seawalls ending north of the beach and no riprap) was not what discussed in planning meeting between LLPS, ALDOT and COGS.         

The formation of a bar within the pass at its mouth means that it is essentially closed.  The question of what can be done about that was not answered.  Don spoke about mechanical methods required to maintain that portion of the channel

Don was made aware of frustration on those present with the dredging operations and made a commitment to see what can be done.  The current operator has a contract which does not expire until February 2016 and a dredge of greater capacity is needed.  He will send a response to Dennis soon, which Dennis will then email to the membership.


Response to LLPS by Don Powell, ALDOT, Friday 07-17-15


I have had and am still having some conversations with my construction personnel as was discussed last night.  I have reviewed our work logs for the current cycle and we have only had two (2) days that the dredge did not run atall.  Therewere some repairs needed and we had to wait for a part during those days.  There is time throughout the work day where the dredge will have to shut down in order to move pipe, move the dredge or other items needed to continue work.  However, those times are normally short in duration with the largest being about 3 to 3.5 hours.

We do not have any “performance” type specifications in our contract dictating how much material is required to be dredged each hour or day.  We do have specifications that penalize the contractor based on the amount of downtime they have.

I was able to check on the statement that was made last night about the dredge being down because of a part needed from Italy and would be down for weeks.  That was a true situation that happened during the previous dredge cycle from last October to November.  The dredge was down for about two (2) weeks during that time and the contractor was penalized by our specifications as described above.

We are looking into some immediate ways we can increase our dredging right now and as stated last night are going to make some changes to our requirements in the upcoming contract.


Donald C. Powell, P. E.

Operations Engineer

Alabama Department of Transportation

Southwest Region – Mobile Area


Press Release- Gulf Coast Newspapers (Islander)

Following is a Tuesday, 07-21-15, news release from the Islander. 

GULF SHORES, AL. – Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) will require additional mechanical excavation to remove the excess sand blocking the flow of water from Little Lagoon pass into the Gulf of Mexico.

Beginning on Thursday, July 23, a long reach excavator will be stationed on the west side of the pass seawall and will begin excavating sand from the channel south of the bridge. The sand will be added to the existing stockpile located on the west side of the pass.

On Monday, July 27, off-road dump trucks will use a dedicated corridor to move the sand from the stockpile at the pass to the beach for placement.

“Alabama Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and City of Gulf Shores staff will continue to monitor the dredging operations which are estimated to take four weeks to complete” Mark Acreman, City of Gulf Shores Public Works Director, said.

For more information contact Brian Aaron of ALDOT, at 251-470-8250.


LLPS Plans

-Continue to closely monitor the dredging/clearing the pass

-Assist when/where we can, and put pressure on ALDOT to comply with the Court Order as rapidly as possible now and in the future.  We (LLPS) consider it to be unacceptable that it has taken 2 months to make the progress noted to date and dredging completion will likely be three months subsequent to the City of Gulf Shores issuing a formal "trigger" notification per the court order (per Mark Acreman). 

-Barney and Dennis will be talking with ALDOT about LLPS providing input on performance clauses in the next dredging contract (Feb 2016), the need for a larger dredge in the next contract, and the need to educate and make sure their employees and contractors understand Court Order specifications and requirements.




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