'We’ve got some work to get done'

Alex Doty • Apr 24, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Marine contractors are back out on the water working on the Grand Haven south pier reconstruction project.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Area Engineer Tom O’Bryan said they’re glad the bad weather seems to be in the past, which means work can begin. Crews from The King Co. were out on the pier Monday.

“Today is just a perfect day for them,” O’Bryan said Monday afternoon. “They want to go out every day, as long as the weather is good.”

The first order of business, O’Bryan noted, will be the measurement for, and installation of, temporary fencing around the pier to keep people away from the work.

Marine contractors plan to install two fences this year. One will be located at the base of the pier and another at the first lighthouse. This will allow the construction crews to restrict access to the entire pier while they’re working, but still allow partial access at other times.

This year’s construction work will affect the outer, lower section of the pier, from the inner lighthouse to the entrance lighthouse. Officials have estimated that it could require approximately 75 working days to complete.

Earlier this spring, the Corps of Engineers noted that Lake Michigan’s near-record water levels could have an affect on how long it takes to wrap up work on the last phase of the south pier reconstruction project, as the lake is nearly 6 inches higher than it was last spring.

In an April 2 Tribune article, O’Bryan noted that it was important for people to be aware of “no wake” warnings when around the construction site.

“Everybody wants this project done, but it will take longer if boaters don’t adhere to the ‘no wake’ (warning) as they come in and out of the channel,” he said.

As a result of the anticipated delays due to water and weather, the completion date for the pier resurfacing project is now expected to be October. It was previously expected to be done by this year’s Coast Guard Festival.

“We’ve got some work to get done,” O’Bryan said Monday.

Additionally, the catwalk cannot be reinstalled until the pier resurfacing is complete. The catwalk will likely be reinstalled on the pier in spring 2019.

If the pier resurfacing project is finished before October, The King Co. plans to pour most — if not all — of the concrete bases for the catwalk’s bents. For the sake of structural integrity, all of the bents must be installed and tied together with their steel rails, and can’t be partially installed and left out for the winter.

King Co. crews are currently rebuilding the catwalk structure offsite. This work includes fabricating 56 new arches, or “bents,” and restoring one of each of the three types of bents used in the original catwalk. The three restored bents will be incorporated into the reinstalled catwalk.

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