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Pacific Is Place for Old I-5 Concrete

October 02, 1994

Fishermen, biologists, environmentalists, commuters, surfers and taxpayers have a common bond in the recycling of concrete into offshore reefs near Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.

The Interstate 5 freeway widening project is producing enough concrete to build a man-made reef or two near the shores of Newport or Huntington. As a surfer, fisherman, contractor, commuter and biology student living in Costa Mesa, I don't care which beach.

We have paid, as taxpayers, for piers. We are paying for concrete to be put in landfills much farther away than the ocean. The money for the transportation of the demolished concrete is funded already. The cost to barge it to sea from Beach Boulevard and throw it over the side is needed. To build a pier for people to fish from and not build a reef for fish to grow in is a real error in logic.

The emissions from trucks to haul this away could be counteracted by kelp beds, which have no place to anchor in sandy soil offshore. Fish go where kelp grows.

Reefs, if not too shallow, help the surf by calming the waters and providing glassy conditions. Decreasing the driving time of hauling trucks speeds the freeway construction and ultimately the commuter will get home sooner--not to mention decreased cost in taxpayer-funded construction.

When the Interstate 5 widening is over, this opportunity will be lost.

RICHARD FINFROCK

Costa Mesa

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