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NEWPORT, Ore. -- The removal project for the derelict Japanese dock that washed up on Agate Beach in June began Wednesday.

The company hired to remove the dock, Ballard Diving and Salvage, began cutting into the dock with a wire saw late Wednesday morning. They were also using a huge crane to lift off large pieces.

Photos:Tsunami dock removal

The contractor will cut the dock into five sections, use a crane to load them onto trucks sitting on the beach, then drive them offsite for final demolition and recycling, said Chris Havel of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Scott Korab, of Ballard Diving and Salvage, said the pieces will then be cut into gravel. The dock is 68-feet-long, made of concrete and steel.

It turned into a huge tourist attraction after it washed ashore. Some people didn't want it to be removed.

I know it s tempting because it's popular right now, but we tend to look at the long view and the reason it s so great to visit here is because the people before kept it natural, Havel explained.

The dock has lured an estimated 60,000 extra tourists into the area since it surfaced.

But for now, roadside parking at Agate Beach is closed and visitors were asked to park in the paved lot on the east side of Oceanview Drive until the removal project is completed.

Click for a map of closures and parking options

Workers said they're hoping to have the removal project completed by Friday night.

But it has cost the state tens of thousands of dollars. Wildlife officials and volunteers removed about a ton and a half of material from the the dock soon after its arrival. Bids for removing the dock ranged from about $80,000 to $240,000. Ballard was awarded a contract for $84,155.

Photos: Japanese dock on Oregon's Agate Beach

Parks officials: What to do if you find debris

The City of Newport planned to keep one corner of the dock to use as a memorial to the victims of the tsunami.

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KGWReporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.

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