Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

Marine Construction

 

June 1, 2019

The Olmsted Locks and Dam project is the largest civil works project in the history of the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Global Diving and Salvage has been on the job since 2010. Photo courtesy of Global Diving and Salvage.

Current or recent marine construction projects on the west coast range from the removal of navigation hazards to the clean-sheet construction of floating facilities. The latter, a floating fireboat station, is in the works for the San Francisco waterfront. It will be the first of its kind in Northern California and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2020.

Swinerton-Power JV, a joint venture of two long-time San Francisco contractors, is the Design-Builder. Leading the project are Power Engineering Construction Co. and Swinerton Builders, along with key team members, Liftech Consultants as the marine engineer and architect Shah Kawasaki.

"Designing, permitting, and building a floating fireboat station on SF Bay, in such an iconic location, is a truly unique opportunity," says David Mik, President of Power Engineering Construction Co. "Our team is excited to be kicking off construction after completing a demanding entitlement process."

Situated at Pier 22½ just behind the operational historic firehouse and nestled beside the Bay Bridge, the new Fire Station 35 will provide San Francisco's Fire Department with upgraded facilities and increased capacity for emergency-response services. Constructing the station on top of a floating barge is a solution to some critical future scenarios. It will seamlessly acclimate to sea level rise and will also experience limited impact in the event of a major earthquake.

Fire Station 35 will be a two-story building situated on a 16,600 sq. ft. steel barge secured by four 60-inch diameter by 150-foot long steel guide piles. This new facility will have berthing areas for multiple fireboats, other rescue craft including jet skis, and will also include a Maritime Disaster Operation Center, storage of critical rescue equipment and expanded facilities for firefighters.

Construction of the 96-foot by 173-foot steel barge has kicked off in Shanghai, China and will be delivered to Treasure Island, by a semi-submersible ship, in late 2019. It will be moored for several months for outfitting of the barge and construction of the building. The Treasure Island location offers access for crews and equipment that would be next to impossible at the final location along the Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco.

Once complete, tugboats will push the floating building to its final location at Pier 22½ in which on-site construction will be minimal. The existing dilapidated Piers 22½ and 24 will have already been demolished and installation of the new float will consist of driving guide piles and connecting to the vehicle access ramp. The vehicle ramp is 16 feet wide and will bridge the 90-foot gap between land and float, along with a new pier structure that is primarily for the public's enjoyment of the waterfront and bay views.

Associated Underwater Services, Inc. (AUS) was recently hired to salvage the 38-foot, 17,000-pound Tai Chio Sailboat at a marina near Pasco, Washington. "A storm caused the wave barrier to break loose, which sawed a hole through the sailboat, causing it to sink at the berth," explains Kirk Neumann, AUS' General Manager.

AUS dispatched a four-man dive crew to salvage the vessel by patching the hull and raising the boat with five lift bags. The vessel was then pumped dry and towed to a deep water port for subsequent demolition and recycling of materials, with the rest being transported to a landfill for disposal.

Another AUS project performed in the last year, involved salvaging a Cessna float plane at the Harvey Air Field after one of the plane's pontoons had flooded, resulting in it sinking at the dock. A three-man AUS dive crew secured lift bags to raise the plane so that it could be towed to a boat launch for removal.

This past spring, AUS was contracted by Stamco Ship Management to assist in the recovery of 100 metric tons of anchor chain and an eight-metric ton anchor from the cargo ship CSCC Europe. The anchor and chain were located in 310 feet of water in the Manchester Bay anchorage area. "Due to the water depth, we used our Seaeye Falcon with DGPS and picked up the anchor with a derrick barge," explains Neumann. A specialized grapple was custom fabricated for the project.

Work involved locating the anchor and chain using sonar. The chain was lifted with a power braid line installed with the Falcon and the grapple was hooked into the chain.

Global Diving and Salvage has been working on a complicated marine construction project. The Olmsted Locks and Dam project is the largest civil works project in the history of the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Global has been on the job since 2010.

The Olmsted Locks and Dam were designed to replace two outdated lock and dam systems on the Ohio River, greatly reducing tow and barge delays through one of the busiest US inland waterways - about 6,500 vessels move 90 million tons of cargo through this area every year. Olmsted is replacing nearby Lock and Dam 52 and 53, which were built in the 1920s and are too small to handle the demands of modern-day barge traffic. The new structure includes two 1,200-foot locks and a 2,500-foot dam.

Working through the US Army Corps of Engineers – Louisville District, Alberici/ Washington Group JV, AECOM was awarded the contract to build Olmsted Dam. Acting as a subcontractor to AECOM, Global has provided all dive-related services for in-water construction - nearing 17,000 dives in total, and Global anticipates completing more than 25,000 dives by the project's estimated completion in September 2019.

"This project is epic in proportions, and the collaboration between AECOM and Global has been phenomenal," says Eric Rose, Director of Business Development and Marketing for Global. "We have a long and successful history of working with them and the USACE, and I think that shows in the efficiency of decision making on this project and how quickly we are able to collectively act."

Global has performed work this spring on wicket gate #32 on Olmsted Lock and Dam, as well as core drilling and concrete cutting work on select sections. Downstream, the crew is starting demolition work on Dam #53, including removal of the sheet pile structures.

With four active dive barges staffed with crews and equipment, work is performed around the clock. For example, Dive Barge 1 has worked on the removal of miter gates, which are part of the lock system. This involved underwater burning with exothermic rods and sewing rigging. The team also worked on removing the hydraulic lines of the sector gear that operates the gate, using an underwater band saw. Dive Barge 2 performed work such as repairing a miter gate, involving core drilling, rock drilling and pole testing to ensure the epoxy and hardware was strong and installing the miter gate while the dam was in operation. Dive Barge 3 worked on the demolition of Dam 53, crew performing removing concrete by the burning and removal of cells surrounding the concrete. Finally, Dive Barge 4's crew worked with pile drivers, doing sheet splitting, involving a lot of burning and crane operations to cut sheet piles so the splitter can fit on top of them.

The crew of 44 divers has been working 24/7, and by later in the spring, Global expects to add another 15 divers. The biggest challenge is working with the current, which can run at 3 feet per second and is always changing.

However, the diving aspect of the project is just one piece in this multi-layered venture. "We have pile drivers, iron workers, and a large engineering staff helping us with prints and drawings and building special tools if needed to do some of this work," says Nick Finney, Global's Dive Superintendent and Project Manager, adding, "There's a tremendous amount of support from AECOM for the work we're doing and the conditions we're doing it in."

 
 

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