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COPRI Announces 2009 Project Excellence Winners

COPRI is pleased to announce that the 2009 Project Excellence Award (PEA) for a Large Project will go to the Dames Point Container Terminal submitted by Halcrow. The PEA Small Project Award goes to the Quay Pier Rehabilitation submitted by William J. Castle, P.E., and Associates, P.C. The judging committee also recommended the Wheeler Reef off the coast of San Clemente, CA. for an award of merit.

The Dames Point Container Terminal project included the development of two 1200-ft. berths designed to be 45 feet deep. The Halcrow design team overcame a number of project challenges including the dredging of the port channel to increase its depth from 40 to 45 feet, planning for installation of the terminal bulkhead within 21 months, and an effective method to re-use the large quantity of dredged materials.

Key project challenges included the need to find a way to reuse a portion of the 1.5 million cubic yards (CY) of dredged material produced by the project and overcoming difficult design and construction schedules. The Jacksonville Port’s current disposal site, Bartram Island, was situated to handle approximately 330,000 CY, the amount dredged annually to keep the channel clear. The island has a total capacity of 3.5 million CY. Therefore, project engineers wanted to avoid overloading the site with material from the terminal project. Other challenges included storm water drainage requiring the construction site to be raised six feet, and limited access to the construction site, as well as restricted access when cruise ships docked.

Instead, the engineers found a way to reuse the dredged material by pumping the higher quality material into the Dames Point area and directing the lower quality material to the disposal site. The fill was finished ahead of schedule allowing the area to be graded and raised to comply with drainage requirements. The project was completed on-time and under-budget, while also minimizing impact to saltwater and freshwater wetlands. It also led to the creation of a 30 acre wetland area, and made use of Jacksonville’s existing dredge and dispose site. Spoil cells, weirs, and earthen berms all were used to control the flow of the dredged material.

The 2009 small project winner involved stabilization and restoration of the 1300-linear foot (LF) quay pier on the Delaware River. An underwater investigation by W.J.Castle, P.E., and Associates, P.C. found the Quay Pier, constructed circa 1969, to be unstable following a ship collision. The project involved temporary stabilization of the pier, installation of a temporary support system, and permanent repairs. Permanent repairs included installation of four concrete-filled pipe pilings and the addition of two steel support beams under the concrete cap beam. The project was initially estimated to cost $1.5 to $2.0 million, but was completed for roughly $875,000.

Project challenges included documenting existing conditions because of a lack of construction drawings for the pier, repair methods to address the extensive nature of damage to the seawall, and repairs of the timber fender pile system along the face of the pier. An additional challenge included the need to remove a portion of the 15-foot seawall, while minimizing the effects of the construction activity on the pier. Because the owners of the pier eanted to maintain usage of the undamaged portions of the pier, all work was accomplished from the waterside using barge-mounted equipment.

Awards Committee Chair Jim Spady notes that the Dames Point Terminal was felt to have achieved excellence in both design and construction, as well as overcoming a number of challenging construction schedule requirements. Judges said that the project is noteworthy as it demonstrates how engineers and contractors can work together toward a common goal of melding design opportunities with construction challenges to produce top flight results. The Judges selected the Quay Pier rebuild based on the unique design solution employed, difficult construction challenges addressed by the designers, as well as the considerable cost savings incurred by the selected design.

The Judging Committee recommended the Wheeler North Reef project for an Award of Merit to recognize the substantial pre-design analysis and investigations undertaken by the Coastal Environments Design Team. The Wheeler North Reef, the largest artificial kelp reef in the United States, was designed to mitigate effects on nearby kelp beds from the adjacent San Onofro Nuclear Generating Station. The project involved placing substrate in an area to avoid ecologically valuable natural bottom communities with a coverage of 17 percent. The judges said that the project was a strong challenger for the top award and that this project distinguished itself both in the analytical techniques employed and satisfying the challenging requirements of the client.

The PEA was established in 2008 to showcase the work of COPRI members and to recognize projects that have demonstrated design and/or construction excellence in the area of coastal, oceans, ports and harbors, or rivers. To be considered each year, projects must: have been completed within three years of the contest deadline, demonstrate significant achievement through design or construction concepts, use of new or existing analytical techniques, use of new or existing technology, adaptive re-use of existing features or infrastructure, or methods to minimize environmental impacts within the affected region or area.