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Construction Continues Along Mighty Miss

Mark Twain would be astounded to see the recent flurry of construction along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.

Wed July 24, 2013 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Silverton Construction photo
Crews prepare 36 in. (91.4 cm) square breakwater piles for driving.
Silverton Construction photo Crews prepare 36 in. (91.4 cm) square breakwater piles for driving.
Silverton Construction photo
Crews prepare 36 in. (91.4 cm) square breakwater piles for driving. Gill’s Crane & Dozer Service Inc. photo
Construction began in late 2011 and includes three phases. Silverton Construction photo
Crews set up a test pile for H-piles required for the secant wall. Silverton Construction photo
Crews auger to a depth of 45 ft. (13.7 m) for cast in place concrete piles for secant wall.

Known for its sparkling waters and abundance of seafood, Mississippi is experiencing a flurry of construction activity along its coast. A number of new harbors in the Mississippi Gulf are taking shape, including structures in Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian that will add almost 350 new boat slips.

“The Pass Christian harbor basin is approximately 22 acres and dredged to 10 feet depth,” said Milady Howard, program manager of M.A. Howard Consulting LLC. “Breakwaters consist of 36 in. square piles capped with a concrete walking surface. Bulkheads consist of vinyl sheet piles with aluminum cap and secant wall with concrete cap. Asphalt parking areas for passenger vehicles and boat trailers will be provided on the north and west sides.”

Main piers will be equipped with lighting, electrical, water and sewer and fire protection. Each boat slip will have sewer pump out capability. Commercial seafood operations, currently in the existing harbor, will be moved to the east breakwater of the new harbor. The east breakwater will include two large covered sheds and an icehouse with parking available for crews and large commercial trucks that are required for commercial oyster and shrimp off-loading and transport.

“A large oyster reef exists off the Pass Christian coast. All oysters must be inspected when off loaded,” said Howard. “The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has an oyster check station in the Pass Christian harbor, so it’s logical all oyster harvesters off-load at Pass Harbor. Hurricane Katrina devastated Pass Christian, so this harbor will help the city recover.”

According to Howard, 465 square concrete piles are included for breakwaters, along with more than 500 14-in. (35.5 cm) concrete piles for east access structure and main piers. Hundreds of 12-in. (30.5 cm) wooden mooring piles are included. The icehouse will be a metal building. The secant walls include steel H-piles and cast in place concrete piles. Stainless steel hardware will be provided on the piers.

“Designing within budget and according to environmental permitting and marine construction requirements is always challenging, along with cost overruns and inclement weather, such as tropical storms and hurricanes,” said Howard.

Construction began in late 2011 and includes three phases dredging, breakwater and bulkhead construction and work on piers, the access structure for commercial operations, the ice house, public restrooms, parking, drainage, water, sewer, electrical, lighting, landscaping and signage. Dredging and breakwater and bulkhead construction is already complete. The final phase began in January 2013.

“The harbor is seeking clean marina certification and will maintain slips for commercial fishermen, recreational boaters and transients of either type. Clean marinas sustain healthy marine environments,” said Howard. “It’s a project that will remain in use for a very long time. It’s especially rewarding seeing the city’s economic development vision come to life, because this project will primarily benefit low to moderate income individuals and business concerns.”

Silverton Construction Company LLC specializes in marine and industrial construction, serves as prime contractor for the site infrastructure at the Pass Christian Harbor Expansion Project Phase III.

“This will be a first-class facility for both recreational boaters and commercial fisherman,” said Michael Herlihy, project manager of Silverton. “Silverton’s role is coordinating and managing our subcontractors. We typically self-perform all the marine portions of the project. It’s rewarding to be a part of the growth of this commercial fishing community. It can be difficult, but planning ahead of time is critical, along with having contingency plans in place when things don’t go as planned. Right now, were installing the pier support piles, and our subs are installing the site electrical and water and sewer.”

SCI Inc. was contracted by Silverton for the sewer and water utility lines on the piers, including the installation of water mains, sanitary sewer systems and storm drainage at the site.

“We use Caterpillar heavy equipment,” said Valerie Mabry, project coordinator of SCI. “Caterpillar 312 and 320 trackhoe excavators and a Caterpillar IT-28 loader are being used for excavation and installation of the gravity sewer, water and drainage systems. Due to the nature of the depth of the utility systems, BakerCorp trench box shoring systems are being used. Thompson Pump Dewatering System is used to control ground water infiltration to keep the excavated pit areas dry.

“The drainage system consists of HDPE N-12 smooth bore wall pipe and is produced by Advanced Drainage Systems, said Marbry.” “The water mains are C-900 PVC DR-18, and the sanitary sewer gravity mains are PVC SDR-26, both produced by Vulcan Plastics Corporation. The sewer system includes two sewage grinder lift stations which are equipped with ABS Piranha submersible pumps. There’s also an underground water storage vault produced by CrystalStream Technologies which is a separation device that controls pollutants in urban storm water from the drainage outfall.”

Dewatering was a concern, because most of the work was to be installed at elevations below sea level. In addition the tide also was a factor.

“Controlling the existing drainage runoff from U.S. Highway 90 onto the site had to be taken into consideration,” said Marbry. “The excess rainwater draining from the highway had to be diverted into the new drainage system, in addition to the onsite drainage. So far, there have been a few inclement weather days that have caused the crews to shut down operations. We are fortunate the weather along the Mississippi Sand Beach is generally pleasant year round.”

Berkel & Company Contractors will handle the augercast pile installation, and is expected to start in mid-July.

“There will be a total of 26 14 inch diameter auger pressure grouted displacement piles totaling 1,324 linear feet,” said Mike Freeman, project manager of Berkel & Company. “A Bauer BG 28 will be used to install the piles that will be approximately 50 feet. This is a type of rig that produces minimal spoils by displacing the dirt that is being drilled outward in the shaft.”

Pass Christian Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott said the new harbor, currently about 70 percent complete, is a crucial project for his community.

“We marvel every day at its progress,” said McDermott. “The new harbor will allow for bigger boats, and is important not only to us, but also the entire seafood industry. Other commercial harbors no longer allow commercial boats. Since we have always been a commercial harbor, it’s a natural fit. A new $35 million dollar harbor will allow us to help separate all the different groups, as well as provide a home for the commercial seaman.”

“In our harbor now they speak French, Spanish, Vietnamese, and English, so we’re very cosmopolitan,” said McDermott. “We feel the new harbor will help us close the hotel deal we have been working on for so long and other businesses on our famous Scenic Drive. We also have the oldest Yacht Club in the south in our harbor, dating back to 1849.”

Construction at the Bay St. Louis Municipal Harbor and Pier is moving forward, as well. The marina project will include a rebuilt Rutherford Pier, a recreational beach and plenty of parking.

The first phase of the long-awaited project involved the dredging of more than 150,000 cu. yds. (114683.2 cu m) of sand to make way for the harbor basin. The sand has been used to add to the existing sand beach between the Bay Bridge and Demontluzin Avenue. The dredged sand also is being used as backfill material for raising the harbor parking lot to 10 ft. (3 m) above mean sea level.

The harbor is located in downtown Bay St. Louis, off South Beach Boulevard between Highway 90 and the CSX Railroad. It’s currently being constructed with 163 slips. The loading deck is 155 ft. (47.2 m) long and 60 ft. (18.3 m) wide, with an ADA compliant wooden pier adjacent to the eastern side of the deck to facilitate ADA loading requirements.

Rutherford Pier functions as the northern boundary of the harbor basin and will include a solid bulkhead wall connected to the north side of the pier. It will serve as a breakwater structure and block sand from migrating into the basin. The pier length is roughly 1,100 linear ft. (335.3 m). The structure includes four covered platforms and a 30 by 50 ft. (9.1 by 15.2 m) fishing platform, with a 10 by 20 ft. (3 by 6.1 m) portion that’s covered.

The parking lot has 130 spaces available for boaters and Rutherford Pier visitors. Dredge material from the basin was used to expand the existing beach north of the pier from 150 ft. (45.7 m) to 250 ft. (76.2 m).

The installation of the concrete piers on the Rutherford Pier is nearly complete, while the installation of the concrete cylinder piles on the southern breakwater has already been finished. In addition, the existing concrete beach drains are being extended to the edge of the newly installed sand beach.

“We’re forming and pouring concrete for the perimeter breakwater and driving concrete bulkhead sheets for the retaining wall along the shoreline,” said Gill Audibert of Gill’s Crane & Dozer Service. Inc. “We’ve already driven the perimeter cylinder and closure piles and driven the vinyl sheet pile bulkhead to protect equipment inside the marina from high wave action. The biggest concern so far has been constructing concrete breakwater forms, due to the elevation of them being below water at times.”

Equipment used includes Terex crawler cranes models HC-80 and HC-110, Kobelco crawler cranes models BM-700 and 7035, a John Deere 225LC excavator, a Kobelco 210, Kobelco 290 long boom, Komatsu 270 long boom, Komatsu D-37 P dozer, Caterpillar wheel loader, Case 580 loader backhoe, Bobcat T-750 skid steer, Terex 10K telescopic forklift, 50 ft. (15.2 m) 800 hp (596 kW) tug push boat m/v Rebecca Jude, a 40 ft. (12 m) 500 hp (373 kW) push boat m/v Captain Eddie, four 120 by 30 ft. (36.6 by 9.1 m) deck barges and four 120 by 32 ft. (36.6 by 9.8 m) spud barges, said Audibert.

“Cranes are being used to do all pile driving operations and to set forms, rebar and pour concrete,” said Audibert. “Excavators are used to excavate sand and backfill behind the retaining wall. The dozer is used to final grade sand to required elevations. Most of the marina perimeter, bulkhead and dock piles are made up of concrete, due to its strength and longevity.”

Working on the water has proved to be a challenge for crews, due to the constant change in wind direction and speed. Barges also must be used for transporting materials to the site, and for securing cranes to site locations. Brown, Mitchell & Alexander Inc. Consulting Engineers designed the project. The Bay St. Louis Harbor and Pier design team members include Dale Partners Architects of Biloxi, Simpkins & Costelli Structural Design Engineers, Canon Engineering Electrical Design Engineers and BMI Environmental Services.

Work on the $21 million Bay St. Louis marina began last fall and is scheduled to be finished in spring 2014. The Pass Christian harbor should be completed by the end of the year.

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