Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Marine and Waterfront Construction


California-based Power Engineering Construction Company recently completed a repair and maintenance project in Concord, California at the US Army's major military cargo shipment port for the West Coast. Photo courtesy of Power Engineering Construction.

A multitude of projects on the west coast and in Alaska are keeping marine construction companies busy.

California-based Power Engineering Construction Company (PEC) recently completed a $6.7 million contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair and maintain operational capacity at Pier 3 Military Ocean Terminal Concord (MOTCO), the Army's major military cargo shipment port for the west coast. The project required an underwater pile protection system be installed on 2,055 timber piles within 10 months.

MOTCO terminal is where the 1944 Port Chicago Disaster occurred, the worst home-front disaster of World War II, in which an ammunition ship detonated while carrying more than 4,600 tons of explosives. The area is considered a Munitions Response Site and therefore, prior to any underwater work, an Underwater Unexploded Ordinance clearance is required.

PEC's team of ADCI certified divers and marine construction crew worked in challenging currents at the active marine terminal. A two-man support crew started the process by removing bolts or braces that prevented wrapping of each pile. Next a pressure washer removed marine growth from the timber. Mud was excavated and then each pile was wrapped with DENSO North America petrolatum piling tape. Piles were also wrapped with HDPE outer cover for protection of the piling tape. Piles repairs ranged from nine feet to 40 feet in length. Each pile was then examined by a 3rd party Quality Control Inspector to ensure every task was completed correctly. This was PEC's third project completed at MOTCO, with no environmental incidents.

Pacific Pile & Marine (PPM), a heavy civil and marine contractor based in Seattle, Washington, recently completed the nearly two-year Pier 3 Replacement project for the City of Kodiak which involved a complete dock structure with crane rail supported on 88 driven and socketed piles. The replacement project is directly adjacent to the existing pier and called for demolition of portions of the existing pier to make way for construction of the new pier and breasting dolphins.

The existing 60-foot wide and 365-foot-long Pier 3 structure and 50-foot gauge crane was put into service in 1972, but the facility was nearing the end of its operational life due to corrosion and water. "Parts for maintenance and repair were becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to find, and the crane also posed limitations on height and reach for containers. Future vessels will be much larger than the Pier was originally designed to accommodate," says Kustaa Mansfield, Business Development.

The project cost nearly $30 million and was substantially completed in February 2016. The piling was accomplished using a combination of land-based and barge-mounted equipment, including vibratory, impact and drilling equipment. "The new pier is of critical importance to the City and the pier's primary tenant, Matson," says Mansfield. "Matson provides twice-a-week service using D-7 class container vessels. The project was designed to accommodate an existing 100-foot gauge crane owned by the company, and staged in China. During the course of the project, Matson arranged for a heavy haul vessel to transport the crane to Kodiak for commissioning which involved a large amount of logistics and pre-planning."

Extensive overburden and complex soils conditions consisting of deep sands, silts, and clays required drilling. Pile installation called for large diameter pipe piles with assorted pile tips, rock anchors, rock sockets, and anodes. The pile sizes included 36-inchch diameter x 1-inch wall, 30-inch diameter x 0.5-inch wall, and 26-inch x 0.75-inch wall. The majority of the piles are 36-inch in diameter and up to 175 feet long and were driven and socketed 15 feet into bedrock. The project also called for an Open Cell Sheet Pile bulkhead – a system developed by PND engineers in the 1980s.

Pacific Pile and Marine is currently working on the Kodiak Ferry Terminal & Dock Improvements project, involving the demolition and removal of the existing ferry terminal and installation of new pile-supported concrete structure planned for completion later this year. PPM is also performing a $2.8 million float replacement project in Akutan, Alaska involving the design and construction of double-sided berthing floats complete with gangway and access approach and an $8.9 million Public Dock for a new marine docking facility in Chignik, Alaska to accommodate Alaska Marine Highway System ferries and other cargo and passenger vessels. The Public Dock also involves an Open Cell Sheet Pile bulkhead.

In the Puget Sound region, PPM recently performed two test pile programs: the Terminal 5 Modernization and the Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock. PPM worked closely with Applied Foundation Testing in performance of the test pile program for the port of seattle. The modernization is expected to be completed by 2019, with a price tag of $120 to $230 million, and will seismically upgrade the terminal and increase overall capacity to attract larger vessels to the region and grow annual seaport container volume to more than 3.5M TEU.

The $2.4 million Test Pile program involved 15 offshore and landside concrete and steel piles, ranging in length from 113 feet to 178 feet, dynamically tested, and in most cases, removed along the edge of the Terminal 5 wharf; rapid load testing was used on nine, with typical pile driving analyzer testing of driven piles.

The upcoming Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock project for Washington State Ferries (WSF) involves replacing and re-configuring the timber trestle portion of the dock, replacing the main terminal building, reconfiguring the dock layout to provide safer and more efficient operations, replacing the vehicle transfer span and the overhead loading structures of Slip 3; replacing vessel landing aids; and replacing the passenger-only ferry facility on the southern edge of Colman Dock. Project construction is planned to begin mid-2017 and be completed in early 2023 for an estimated cost of $177 to 230 million. PPM is partnered with Hoffman Construction as Hoffman-Pacific, a Joint Venture that was selected as the general contractor and construction manager for the project.

Other recent PPM projects include the recently completed Mukilteo Ferry Terminal Phase 1: Tank Farm Demolition and Dredging project, an $8 million project to remove the deteriorated pier in anticipation of the future terminal location, and the SR520 W Montlake to Evergreen Point Bridge West Approach Bridge North, where the company installed more than 1.3 miles of pile-supported support trestle, drilled shafts, and large diameter drilled caissons, requiring complex sequencing. The company also provided the marine construction elements for habitat restoration of the Elliott Bay Seawall Replacement project along the Seattle waterfront.

PPM is also currently involved with several projects in the hydro/renewable energy sector including a project in Ketchikan, Alaska, to raise the height of the dam in order to increase capacity, along with installing a complex emergency system, which will be the largest, and possibly first of its kind in North America.

Westar Marine Services, with offices in Seattle and San Francisco, has been working on the Seattle Evergreen 520 floating bridge including the new bridge construction and the old bridge demolition. Westar has provided tug and barge services since 2012, shifting barges and towing new pontoons into Lake Washington, and will begin taking the old bridge pontoons out of Lake Washington. The old pontoons have been sold or are for sale and will be towed to the buyers' designated location. The pontoons can be used for many things such as a barge dock or ship's berth.

Power Engineering workers installing casing on piles were required to first be cleared to working with underwater unexploded ordinance. Photo courtesy of Power Engineering Construction.

In the San Francisco Bay area, Westar is also participating in the Bay Bridge demolition. "There are 520-foot sections that are lowered onto barges," says Dan DeForge, Port Captain. "The General Contractor will use our tugs to run eight anchors so the barges have control to move themselves around. Our boats go out and set the anchors as well as pick them up. We use four tugboats to guide them from the Bay Bridge site to Oakland Berth 7, where the sections are demolished. Once the barges are in place at Berth 7, our job is completed until the next bridge section is lowered down."

Westar recently towed two barges, a derrick barge and a pile barge from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska for the Test Pile Program. "This program is to prepare for new construction for the expansion of the Port of Anchorage Ship Dock," says DeForge. "We are working for Kiewit. Our tug crews work six days a week, 12-hour days to assist with any tug services needed. Once the job is completed, we will tow the two barges back to Seattle."


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