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Haddad Riverfront dock growing, upgrading

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Demolition of the concrete boat dock at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston began Thursday, and city officials hope to have it completed within the next week and a half.

The structure is being replaced with a galvanized, floating dock that will rise along with the river, City Engineer Chris Knox said.

The entire project should be finished by late November, he said.

"This is going to be really neat," Knox said.

The dock will cost about $527,600, with about $125,000 coming from a West Virginia Port Authority grant. The rest will come from the city's general maintenance fund.

The new dock, which will sit on pilings driven into the bedrock below the river, will be able to rise as high as Kanawha Boulevard during periods of high water, Knox said.

"It's an expensive dock and we don't want to lose it," he said.

The current dock is static and becomes submerged two to three times a year, Knox said.

The pilings, which rise from the river to the level of Kanawha Boulevard, have been designed to look like smokestacks from a sternwheel boat, keeping with the theme of the park, Knox said.

The new floating dock made of galvanized metal trusses and composite decking will stretch from Schoenbaum Stage west about 496 feet, he said. That is roughly double the length of the existing concrete dock, Knox said.

The new dock will end near the Court Street Overlook.  

That means about twice as many boats will be able to hook up, he said. The extra space is sorely needed. Boats tie up six and seven deep during popular events like the Rod Run and Doo Wop, Knox said.  

The new dock will have nine power hookups shaped like lighthouses. The lighthouses at either end of the dock will be able to supply 100 amps of power while the remaining seven will have four 30-amp outlets, Knox said.

The current dock has no power outlets.

Boats will be able to dock only on the river side of the structure, Knox said.

Ramps compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act will lead from the shore to the dock, he added.

City Manager David Molgaard said he was pleased to see the project get under way.

"This is something we've really been looking forward to," he said.

Plans were to start the demolition of the concrete dock after the Rod Run and Doo Wop had concluded, and Molgaard was pleased to see demolition begin on time.

"It was a matter of getting beyond the festival season before we could start," he said.

The construction will not interfere with the encore performance of the Live on the Levee Concert Series Oct. 26.

"But boats won't be able to tie up to the west of the stage," Molgaard said.

Employees of Amherst Madison, the company demolishing the concrete pad and installing the new dock, began working Thursday morning.

The concrete slabs that make up the old dock will be removed with a crane mounted on a barge. The barge was brought up the Kanawha River by a sternwheel tugboat dubbed "The Major."

The new dock is prefabricated by American Muscle Docks out of Wellsburg, Brooke County, Knox said.

Contact writer Paul Fallon at or 304-348-4817. Follow him at


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