Harbor is about to get very busy

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate May 31, 2013 04:59 pm

Work continues Wednesday on the basin retaining wall at Crescent City Harbor.
Work continues Wednesday on the basin retaining wall at Crescent City Harbor. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Patience asked as multiple projects are about to begin

Since Crescent City Harbor will be swarming this summer with three large construction projects involving three separate barge cranes, harbor officials are asking the public to be patient, and aware and stay out of the way of construction when possible.

“Be patient; this is a once-in-a-lifetime event that we get to rebuild a harbor, so if you’re a little inconvenienced, we’re sorry about that, but it’s going to be worth it at the end of the day,” said Harbormaster/CEO Richard Young.

Sport anglers might be held up by dredging near the recreational boat ramp; the entrance to the inner boat basin might be temporarily blocked by a dredge crane; and 3,000 dump truckloads of rock material will be delivered to the harbor.

“Try to stay away from construction zones and drive slow,” said the harbor’s lead engineer, Ward Stover, of Stover Engineering.

On Saturday morning, drilling for new steel pilings will resume, after being put on hold for months due to federal regulatory agencies’ concerns of impacts the loud drilling could have on endangered and protected species like coho salmon.

Dutra Construction, the lead contractor for multiple harbor construction projects, needs to install about 170 pilings for new docks in the 168 work days available before Nov. 15, when drilling must yield to coho salmon again.

Dutra is expecting to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week for the first couple weeks in order to establish a production rate of how many piles can be driven per day, harbor officials said. 

Two high-tech under-reamer drill bits are expected to be on-site this season after drilling was delayed last year when two separate under-reamer drill bits experienced massive failures. This year’s bits are from a Korean-based manufacturer; last year’s were from an Oregon-based manufacturer.

“Snafus happen. Every project has issues. I’ve never been on a project that hasn’t had issues. It’s just that this is a big project so you have big issues,” Stover said. “The goal is to get the drilling work done before Nov. 15. (Dutra is) trying to create a buffer between Nov. 15 and their completion date. That buffer will be determined after we get these first two weeks in.”

A dredging project in the outer boat basin will require another barge crane, three dump scows, two ocean-going tugboats and one harbor tugboat.

Outer boat basin dredging is expected to start in the second week of June and will continue 24/7 until finished sometime in late July, harbor officials estimated.

The two dump scows will take turns depositing material at a site off the coast of Eureka, a 12- to 13-hour round trip.

Dredging is expected to start with the creation of an eelgrass mitigation site northwest of the ramp that state regulators are requiring the harbor to create to offset destruction of eelgrass elsewhere in the harbor.

The outer boat basin dredging could affect fishermen using the recreational boat ramp, and anglers are asked to be patient and aware of the dredging.

Dredging will then move north to the federal channel, to a 10-foot depth. Dredging will then be done near the east side of the outer boat basin at a depth of 15 feet, affecting traffic to the fish docks, synchro-lift and part of Citizens Dock.

The third barge crane will be needed for reconstruction and improvements to the rock slope walls at the entrance to the inner boat basin, expected to start in late June. 

Four-ton armored stone will be installed, providing added protection from a tsunami similar to that of 2011.

“Visually you can see how the  point has been eroded significantly and most of that was from the 2011 tsunami so we’re increasing the size of the stone there to resist those velocities,” said Jon Olson, of Stover Engineering.

The barge crane is likely to block the entrance to the inner boat basin for some periods of time.

“It’s going to be difficult to get by at times, and it’s unavoidable due to the nature of work that we are doing,” Young said.

Sixty-thousand tons of rock for the inner boat basin are needed, being delivered 20 tons at a time for at least 3,000 truckloads.

Rock slope work in the inner boat basin has progressed through the winter and spring, with more than a third of rock walls complete at this point.

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