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The Port of Los Angeles’ Pier 400 Project Advancing to Second Stage;

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock uses Ellicott® Brand dredge “Florida” to pump 50 million cubic yards of land fill

Source: World Dredging Mining & Construction & International Dredging Review

On August 18, 1997, the Port of Los Angeles and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers celebrated the Pier 400 Project, the biggest dredging and landfill project in the USA, creating deeper channels to allow the world’s largest container and tanker ships access to the Port’s new Piers 300 and 400.

The material dredged from channel construction will be used to add nearly 600-acres (242.8 hectares) to the Port to help accommodate an expected doubling of cargo moving through the Port in the next 20 years. The entire project is costing over $300MM split roughly in half between Stage 1 and Stage 2.

Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan said, “The Port of Los Angeles is one of our City’s crown jewels, creating jobs, supporting the local economy, linking us to the rest of the world. Today, we celebrate the largest expansion in U.S. seaport history — and the innovation that will propel us to even greater heights.”

Brig. Gen. J. Richard Capka, commander, Army Corps of Engineers, South Pacific Division, remarked, “Planners from both the Port of Los Angeles and the Corps are to be congratulated for ensuring that the necessary equation for success — economics, engineering, and the environment — was balanced in this project. We are proud of our role in the development of this harbor, going back as far as the late 1800s with the creation of the Corps’ Los Angeles District. We look forward to our second century of service to the people of the nation and Southern California.”

Both Stages I and II contracts were awarded to The Pier 400 Constructors, a joint venture of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. and Connolly-Pacific Co. A $148.6 million contract was awarded for Stage I in June 1994. The project included the development of 3 mi. of new, wide navigation channels, a turning basin and 5000 linear ft of berthing area south of Pier 300 on Terminal Island.

The dredging of 29 million yd3 of material produced water depths of 45 ft to 63 ft to accommodate deep-draft containerships and dry bulk vessels. The dredged material is contained behind rock dikes, creating a 265-acre (107.3 hectares) portion of a new landmass called Pier 400, located in the outer harbor area south of Terminal Island. This acreage includes a narrow corridor of new fill which will connect Pier 400 to Terminal Island near the Los Angeles – Long Beach border. The new land provides immediate in-harbor protection from waves and surf.

Great Lakes used its 36″ (914 mm) Ellicott® brand dredgeFlorida” to do most of the work on this job. The “Florida“, with over 16,000 total installed HP (12,000 kW), is reported to be the largest and most powerful cutter suction dredge in the United States.  It produced up to 138,000 yd3/day on this job so that Great Lakes was able to finish three months ahead of schedule.

Stage II is now underway with a $150 million contract scheduled for completion by January 2000. The second phase of the project will deepen the 63-ft channel to 81 ft, lengthen a 50-ft channel and construct a 75-ft-deep channel to the east side of Pier 400, Stage I. The 22 million yd3 of dredged material will create an additional 325-acres (131.5 hectares).

The electric dredge was refitted in the early 1980s to work in the Los Angeles area, where the Air Quality Control Board designates that all stationary construction equipment be electrically powered. After a ladder pump was installed on the 115-foot-long ladder in the course of the initial deepening of the channels, the 34-inch dredge was powerful enough to pump the long distances required without booster pumps. During this project, she will pump 18,000 feet from the offshore entrance channel to the fill. During the building of the transportation corridor, the longest discharge line was 12,000 feet. With a 184-foot-long idler barge moored to the stern, the Florida’s overall length is 450 feet, allowing for a wide swing.

The main pump drive is a 10,000 HP, 13,200 volt Canadian General Electric motor. Shore power comes to the dredge via 15,000 feet of heavy-duty cable, deployed by two-reel barges.

The Canadian motor derives from the dredge’s first application. Ellicott® International built the “Florida“, then called the  “Clarence B. Randall“, and an identical sister dredge in 1953 for Caland Ore’s Steep Rock Canada iron ore mine. The two dredges worked around the clock to remove hundreds of millions of cubic meters of overburden – over one hundred meters deep. The Steep Rock project remains the single largest dredge mining project ever undertaken. It is a tribute to the Ellicott®  brand design standards that the key machinery is still in service over 40 years later, and that the hull structure accommodates the subsequent dredge improvements described above.

When Great Lakes was preparing the “Florida” for the Pier 400 projects in 1997, it was able to rely on Ellicott® International to supply complete original engineering data, over 40 years after construction, to assist Great Lakes’ improvements to the dredge.

The Port has planned the site for container, liquid bulk and rail facilities. The Pier 400 Project provides significant economic benefits including an increase in real wages from $24.3 billion to $40 billion. In addition, federal, state and local tax contributions will increase from $12 billion to $19.8 billion. The dredging and landfill project is the cornerstone of the Port’s Pier 300/400 Implementation Program, a $650 million program encompassing 24 separate projects. It is the largest capital improvement undertaking of any U.S. seaport and the Port’s most ambitious development project in its 90-year history.

The Pier 300/400 Implementation Program makes up part of the southern terminus of the Alameda Corridor, a 20-mile rail and road transportation route, connecting the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the intercontinental rail network and creating a fast and efficient means to distribute cargo throughout the United States. The Port of Los Angeles is one of the world’s busiest seaports and serves as a vital U.S. West Coast gateway for international commerce. The 7500-acre Port features 30 major facilities along 28 miles of waterfront that specialize in automobile, breakbulk, containerized, dry bulk and liquid bulk cargo operations.

In recognition of the importance of the harbor to Los Angeles, the Army Corps of Engineers — the federal government’s engineering experts — created the Los Angeles District in 1898 to facilitate the construction of its harbor system. Today, under that same spirit of cooperation and long-standing partnership, the Corps continues to assist the Port with its engineering expertise, making the Port of Los Angeles one of America’s largest commercial trading harbors.

Excerpted from World Dredging Mining & Construction & International Dredging Review

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