The Day – Work on State Pier continues as land breaks ground on New York offshore wind farm
New London – At a rate of approximately 200 truckloads of rock and dirt a day, the 7 acres of water separating the two piers at the State Pier facility are slowly being moved.
Filling in this space to create a larger pier is part of one of the city’s biggest building projects in recent history, helping to reshape a waterside industrial site on the River Thames that was built there more than a century ago.
State Pier in New London is a whirlwind of activity these days, housing dozens of construction workers using cranes, diggers and dump trucks for the sole purpose of completing the estimated $235 million project dollars by next year.
Representatives of the construction and engineering company Kiewit, the project’s main contractor, paid a brief visit to the site on Thursday. Progress can also be tracked online at statepiernewlondon.com.
The modernization project is the result of the Connecticut Port Authority’s agreement with port operator Gateway Terminal and joint venture partners Ørsted and Eversource. The project includes widening the jetty and a major infrastructure update to create a facility with heavy-lift capacity to accommodate the parts needed to build offshore wind farms.
While Ørsted and Eversource are contributing more than $70 million to the project and will lease the facility for 10 years, APC officials are quick to point out that the updated facility will be better suited to accommodate a range cargo when not in use by offshore. wind industry.
State Pier is expected to be in service early next year. Ørsted and Eversource broke ground on a 12-turbine South Fork Wind project off Long Island on February 14. The wind farm is expected to generate 132 megawatts, enough to power 70,000 homes, and be operational by the end of 2023.
It is the smallest of several wind farm construction projects associated with New London’s State Pier, which is expected to be used for component assembly and delivery. A larger project, the 704 megawatt Revolution Wind, is planned for the waters off the coast of Rhode Island.
Connecticut Port Authority executive director John Henshaw said dredging began in earnest once the project received a federal permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers in December.
Dredging for silt and organics between the two piers, known individually as the State Pier and Central Vermont Railroad Pier, was completed on January 20. This was necessary to create a stable base for the 380,000 cubic meters of material needed to fill the over 7 acres of space between the piers and create a large central wharf area.
During Thursday’s round, there was a steady stream of dump trucks depositing materials that were pushed through the water by bulldozers.
According to officials, 25 trucks are working at the site, each making an average of eight trips a day, or 200 trips in total. Some of the materials come from soil excavated from the property and stockpiled atop the CVRR jetty. Some dredged material will also be used.
The type of fill transported to the site is classified as “clean fill” and its use is authorized by the Army Corps of Engineers Federal Permit. Officials say it is soil that meets the physical and chemical criteria set by federal and state guidelines that require the material – primarily rock and soil – to be free of any pollutants.
Waterford-based Kobyluck Sand & Gravel was awarded the contract for the bulk of the landfill operation.
Elsewhere, a demolition dust control fogger buzzed as excavators clawed and pounded a section of State Pier being demolished. The cranes position and drive into the ground large tubular piles whose diameter varies between 30 and 42 inches. Piles are driven into the ground to create retaining walls, called composite walls, at various locations around the piles, including the delivery dock and the receiving platform.
Further dredging will take place after October 1 in the turning basin area, where vessels will maneuver around the jetty.
Henshaw said he expects backfilling activity to be complete by the end of the summer, when material in the central wharf area will be compacted before a final surface is completed.
Although there have been no major delays since construction began, there have been some hiccups.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reports that since issuing a work permit to State Pier in August, it has filed several complaints, particularly regarding the dumping of snow and the use of a turbidity curtain around the construction area in the water. Those complaints resulted in follow-ups from DEEP but did not require further enforcement, a DEEP spokesperson said in an email Friday.
On January 2, a DEEP emergency response unit responded to a report of a hydraulic oil spill from a dredge. In response, sorbent booms and pads were deployed to soak up the oil in the river and equipment was repaired, DEEP said. The case has since been dismissed.
On February 4, Henshaw reported to the CPA board that an “intruder”, later identified as Port Authority critic Kevin Blacker, “breached the site” and caused work to stop. while state police responded. Henshaw called the incident “the pinnacle of irresponsibility” and promised an arrest if another incident occurred.
Of the complaints filed with environmental officials, Henshaw said, often “complaints do not match the reality on the ground.” The CPA is in regular communication with DEEP and the Army Corps of Engineers about ongoing work, he said.
Regarding the timing and cost of the project, Henshaw said challenges to CPA permit applications have contributed to delaying the project. He acknowledged that the schedule is closely linked to the cost of the project.
“The in-water dredging permits took a little longer than expected. It was a challenge that we have to overcome,” Henshaw said. “I think we tried to be clear, there are repercussions associated with the delays. However, we are doing our best to try to mitigate them through savings where we can.”
The final price for the project is still being negotiated and should be announced in the coming weeks. Henshaw said it is likely the CPA will work on an amendment to the contract with Kiewit before the guaranteed maximum price is finalized.
“At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is the best on the budget that we can,” Henshaw said.
He said he expects Ørsted and Eversource to start using the State Pier site by February 1, 2023, when some deliveries are expected. Some work on the pier is expected to continue until April 2023.