I work in a building on the waterfront, and cruise ships berth along it in the cruise ship season (May to November). Apparently we need more space for cruise ships, so the Halifax Port Authority required a dolphin mooring which I believe is a reinforced additional sticky outy jetty kind of a thing at which the cruise ships can berth. [And yes, I believe sticky outy jetty kind of a thing is a technical marine engineering term].
Currently the boardwalk in front of the building won't accommodate cruise ships because it's not long enough. It accommodates some smaller boats. So the dolphin mooring I think is supposed to fix that.
They started back in December by isolating a section of boardwalk and then chain sawing and removing the boardwalk planks. These are all photos taken on my phone from inside my work building, so the quality isn't great. So shoot me. These photos were taken back on December 3, 2014.
Then after ripping up the boardwalk, they had to remove the wooden pilings which hold up the boardwalk. It appears to be about 15-20 feet from the boardwalk to the floor of the ocean, and the pilings were sunk another 20 feet below the seabed.
It was like watching some crazy robot pulling badly rotted but reluctant teeth.
To do all the work, they use a crane which is mounted to a concrete barge which is moored to the boardwalk. It's a completely fascinating process.
But don't even get me started on what a bunch of idiot goons these guys are and how incredibly unsafe they are.
Here's a close up of the wooden pilings after the boardwalk had been removed. Again, grainy and out of a window. Sorry 'bout that.
Here comes the big thing on the end of the crane to attach to the pilings to pull them out.
Here's one of the wooden pilings being extracted. It's a little dark because it was later in the day.
And down it goes.
These guys were working at night with big halogen lights and generators. It seemed like it should have been a fairly smooth process, but some of them were in at an angle, and then there were cross-beams nailed or bolted to the pilings, and they had to be removed with chainsaws and sledgehammers.
So once all the old pilings were removed (which took the better part of two weeks to actually accomplish), the next step was to install a deck grate thing. The manufacturers had very kindly ensured that it came pre-rusted so that mother nature wouldn't have to do all the work.
The pilings were all cut into chunks after being extracted. You can see that the lighter bits are covered in barnacles etc. The darker ones are the ends which were completely submersed below the seabed.
The next step was to replace the old wooden pilings with iron or steel pilings. The replacement pilings are actually hollow tubes which are eventually filled with rebar and concrete. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Here is the start of the replacement of the pilings. And again, they come pre-rusted.
So the hollow tubes get lifted up by the crane hoist thing, and there is some kind of a pneumatic pile driver which pounds them into the ocean and down below the seabed.
This aspect of the project took probably 2 months to complete. Partly there were weather delays, and partly they just couldn't seem to get it right. They put down 8 of these things in all, and some are angled presumably for additional support. but the number of times they had to pull them up and start again was staggering.
I apparently managed not to take any pictures of the process of the installation of the new piling tubes. Clever me. I blame it on the fact that I worked from home a fair bit during the dreaded February March snowpocalypse.
But we return with the installation of the giant rebar cages.
When they lifted the rebar cage things, they had rod hooks at two different places on the cages (which again are about 40 feet long), and so they were drooping and looked a bit like spinal columns.
Once again I was too stunned to actually take pictures. Duh.
Then yesterday and the day before, after inserting the rebar columns into all the pilings, they started to pour in concrete.
I love the fact that the actual concrete pumping thing is called the Putzmeister. Snort.
And I also love the fact that the pump is secured by duct tape and garbage bags. Take a closer look. Embiggen the pictures and you'll see what I mean.
And my personal favourite is that while the guys down on the grate were busy grabbing the concrete pump thing and trying to maneuver it into position, the dude who actually controls the crane (which was suspended overhead with what appeared to be a 250 lb rod hook swaying merrily in the wind) was ASLEEP in the crane cab. He could have twitched and hit a knob and then whammo! Game over for the dudes on the deck.
They filled half of the pilings with concrete and then appeared to call it a day.
My favourite part of the clean up was when they were busy shovelling excess concrete into the ocean and then spraying the concrete into the ocean.
And people worry about a little bit of sewage in the harbour? Sheesh.
I suspect they're not working this weekend, so that's why they took the barge and crane away.
So the next step will be to finish filling the pilings with concrete. I think there is some sort of a curing period. One of the engineers in our office told me that there's a 28-day curing period and there's some sort of strength thing that goes along with it. Apparently it takes that long for the chemical reactions to complete. It's kind of dry to the touch within a couple of days, but requires more time to actually set.
So I don't know what will happen with the tops of the rebar cages which are sticking up.
I'll chart the rest of the progress and will do another post another time.
That's all for now, folks.
And yes, 4 months does seem like a very long time to accomplish what little they seem to have accomplished. We're skeptical that this will be done in time for the start of cruise ship season.