Ashland oredock demolition underwayThe historic Soo Line oredock in Ashland will soon disappear from the horizon on Lake Superior’s South Shore.
By: By Danielle Kaeding, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The historic Soo Line oredock in Ashland will soon disappear from the horizon on Lake Superior’s South Shore. The first phases of demolition are already underway.
Phases one and two of the oredock demolition resumed this spring. Ashland Mayor Bill Whalen says the city awarded a revised permit last summer allowing railroad company Canadian National to begin demolition of the historic structure. The railroad has contracted with Duluth-based VEIT & Company to conduct the demolition.
“They are going to take off the upper structure and all the fixtures attached to it and get down to the cement structure itself — everything but the base,” Whalen said.
He hopes Canadian National will finish work on the first two phases of demolition by the end of the year.
“I know they’ll have all the chutes off it, all the attachments: the metal, the steel, some of the wood attachments,” Whalen said. “Whether they’ll have the entire structure down, we don’t know yet.”
He says the city plans to begin negotiations with the railroad about the base of the oredock.
“I’d like to keep the base and have a real nice pier there, but it’s going to be an awful lot up to the railroad itself,” Whalen said. “If we can save them money by not having to demolish the base itself and it’s a win-win for both of us, we’ll move forward on this.”
The City of Ashland will do water quality monitoring tests by the oredock to ensure that no debris from the demolition is contaminating Lake Superior. The city’s water pickup is about 1,300 feet from the oredock.
Whalen says the city is considering buying parts of the oredock from Canadian National to commemorate the near century old landmark of Ashland's lakefront. The oredock took its last load of cargo in 1965.
Whalen talked about the oredock demolition on Northland College radio’s program “Leaders’ News & Views,” which airs weekly on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. on 97.7 WRNC in Ashland. People can view the oredock demolition through a live webcam on the City of Ashland’s website.