THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Historic Gloucester sea wall rocked by the storm

Strong ocean surges took out a roughly 30-foot section (above) of the north side of the sea wall in Gloucester’s Lanes Cove and knocked down three rows of granite blocks on the wall’s south side. The damage could cost $1 million to repair. Strong ocean surges took out a roughly 30-foot section (above) of the north side of the sea wall in Gloucester’s Lanes Cove and knocked down three rows of granite blocks on the wall’s south side. The damage could cost $1 million to repair. (John Blanding/ Globe Staff)
By James Vaznis
Globe Staff / December 30, 2010

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A more than century-old seawall in Lane’s Cove in Gloucester sustained severe damage during this week’s major nor’easter.

Strong ocean surges knocked down three rows of granite blocks on the wall’s south side and took out a roughly 30-foot section of the wall on the north side, Jim Caulkett, Gloucester’s harbormaster, said yesterday.

“It reinforces what everyone said about how fierce the storm was,’’ Caulkett said by phone. “It just reminds us all: No matter how big a granite block is, it can be moved.’’

Once the surf calms, Caulkett said town officials will thoroughly inspect the extent of the damage and the cost to repair the seawall, which dates to the mid-1800s. But based on a preliminary review, the repairs could be in the area of $1 million, he said.

Rebuilding the damaged portions of the wall could require permits from state and federal environmental regulators, a potentially time-consuming and costly process, Caulkett said. He is hoping that Governor Deval Patrick’s declaration of a state of an emergency might mean a more streamlined permitting process.

With rough waters subsiding, Caulkett said there are no concerns, at least for now, that the wall will be breached.

Houses dot the cove, which is a popular spot among recreational boaters and lobstermen, said Caulkett.

James Vaznis can be reached at jvaznis@globe.com.