Cliff Walk Repairs Draw Surfer Ire

Apr 10, 2013

The Newport City Council will be reviewing a plan at Wednesday's meeting to rebuild the famed Cliff Walk damaged last year by Superstorm Sandy. Many in the town are concerned about how a proposed plan could alter the ocean waves that give the historic Breakers mansion its name.

The state Department of Transportation wants to rebuild part of Newport's Cliff Walk.
Credit RIPR

The Department of Transportation’s plan to rebuild the Cliff Walk in Newport calls for the installation of granite and limestone in the waters beneath it. The material will be used to protect a stretch of existing walls from the power of crashing waves. To do this work, temporary jetties will be built to accommodate barges full of construction material. The co-founder Clean Ocean Access, David McLaughlin says the jetties will ruin what surfers consider to be one of the best patches of surf on the east coast.

“You know, the largest estate in Newport is called the Breakers," McLaughlin said. "The reason its call the Breakers is because of the waves that break in front of Ruggles. So you don’t really want to be tampering with something like that.”

More than 6,000 people have signed an online petition urging the state and elected officials to reject the proposed construction plan. The Coastal Resources Management Council is also advising the DOT to scale down their proposal.