Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

The construction company tasked with the reconstruction of the Crescent City Harbor has assured local officials that come crab season, there will be enough space for the entire local commercial crab fleet.

Dutra Group's regional project manager, Jim Galli, told harbor commissioners Tuesday that a minimum of 86 pilings will be installed by Nov. 15, the last day when in-water work is allowed under the permit from the California Coastal Commission.

In order to meet the deadline, Dutra is considering moving to two shifts.

"We would like to propose that the work window (for in-water work) be relaxed," Galli said.

Harbormaster/CEO Richard Young said that the harbor has contacted National Marine Fisheries Service and the Coastal Commission regarding expanding the work window that is in place to minimize impact to salmonids and marine mammals.

In addition, Dutra has a consultant working to expedite the process.

"We're currently in the information gathering stage to try to demonstrate that the impact on the marine environment would be minimal from extending the work window," Young said. "Certainly, what's in everyone's best interest is to do away with the work window entirely and have these guys work through the winter to get this thing built."

An alternative drilling method proposed by Dutra may make the extension more likely.

The method outlined for the pilings and docks in the harbor engineers' design was to drill a 48-inch diameter hole, locate the 30-inch piling precisely in the hole, cement the piling in place, and then build the floating cement docks to the pilings.

Dutra proposed building the docks in the water, dropping a piling through the pile hoop on the dock, and drilling a 30-inch hole (from the insideof the piling) that pulls the piling into the hole during drilling.

Young said that the alternative drilling method for installing pilings will have less impact since workers will be drilling inside the piling minimizing sound levelsand turbidity created from stirred up sediment.

The harbor's engineering team is now satisfied with the information provided by Dutra Construction's engineers, demonstrating that the alternative drilling method will produce as good of aresult as the originally proposed drilling method, Young said.

The specialized drill bit wasconstructed in Eugene this week, and drilling is expected to start next week or the first week of October at the latest, Galli said.

Finger and mainwalk floats, the primary docks, are scheduled to arrive this week or the first week of October.

"We've used up a lot of float, but we're still on schedule," Young said.

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