Put-in-Bay Docks are under reconstruction and Bargegate was the name some islanders coined for the ongoing saga of how the contractor redoing the villages docks this winter was going to get the huge cribs needed for the project from the mainland to Put-in-Bay. When the ice came in early, the cribs ended up on Miller’s Catawba Dock and not at Put-in-Bay. To solve the problem, a tug was scheduled to come to the area and break ice between the dock and Put-in-Bay so the cribs could be loaded on barges and ferried to the work site.
The outcry from ice fishermen and some seriously cold temperatures scuttled that plan, so Plan B to load the Put-in-Bay Docks cribs on skids and haul them across the ice to Put-in-Bay was put into works. That was what was going on as we went to press at the end of January. Since then, Bargegate has taken some interesting turns. As Plan B was being to take fruition, a small tank tracked piece of equipment with a backhoe arm on it was shown in a post on Facebook tipped on its side in the ice next to the mainland dock. A couple of days later, a Land Rover truck being used for the project went through the ice off Catawba Dock as it headed to Put-in-Bay. The back wheels broke through and the two men inside gathered up what they needed and got out onto the ice. A bit later, the SUV dropped completely into the icy water.
After putting the vehicle through the ice, the plans for sliding the cribs to Put-in-Bay were apparently put into the floor-mounted circular file. Then on Thursday, Feb. 19th, work began on breaking up the ice around the village docks, and the U.S. Coast Guard 9th District announced an advisory to the residents of southern Lake Erie islands including Catawba Island, Ohio, that the commercial tug Ohio was scheduled to break ice from South Bass Island to Catawba Island Tuesday morning, Feb. 25th. Again, there was a bit of an outcry from some of the avid ice fishermen and those who enjoyed snowmobiling or ATVing from the mainland to and around the islands.
But there were some ice fishermen who said with the ice already beginning to wane, fishing would not be terribly affected by the ice breaking. There were also those who welcomed the tug breaking into the harbor, hoping it will expedite the return of ferry service
this spring. With ice reported to be up to two feet thick in some areas, and ice completely surrounding the islands, it was reminiscent of the year when the ferries were stuck in the Bay until into April. In order to even come close to meeting the May
deadline on the project, the contractor had no choice but to hasten the transport of the cribs to the island.
So, Tuesday, April 26th, came and went with no activity, then on Wednesday, the 27th, the tug made its way from Cleveland to Catawba where it broke up the ice around the Miller Dock and then started breaking ice up the east side of South Bass on its way
to Put-in-Bay harbor where it arrived in the afternoon. It then took the barge that has been tied up all winter in the ice at the Put-in-Bay Docks back to Catawba to start bringing the badly-needed cribs over to the island. The tug was actually out in the lake way after dark. Oh! And by the way, the temperature was an odd number, 13 degrees As we go to press, weather predictors were calling for -10 degree temperatures and winds in excess of 30 mph.All said, when the Put-in-Bay Docks are completed it will be a wonderful addition to the island.