NEW LONDON — A nine month wait for a federal dredging permit hasn’t raised the cost of filling seven acres at State Pier, and the redevelopment is still slated to fit within a $235 million price tag, according to officials at the Connecticut Port Authority.
The delay means that the bulk of the dredging work for the offshore wind hub – a partnership of Eversource and Ørsted – will be pushed off until next winter. But Port Authority Board Chair David Kooris said the permit did arrive in time to start work before a Feb. 1 deadline to cease dredging to avoid interfering with spawning flounder.
“The good news today is that coming out of last week with the permit issuance, the timing of this board meeting is very fortuitous, and it allows us to initiate the limited dredge that needs to occur this winter – which will start work early January next year,” Kooris said. “That’s a sort of precondition to some of the other in-water activities.”
Andrew Lavigne, the manager of business development and special projects for the port authority, told CT Examiner that the initial dredging this winter will remove material from between the two piers and any obstructions that might interfere with installing a bulkhead.
Marlin Peterson, the project coordinator with construction administrator AECOM, told board members that there had been a lag in work since August while waiting for the Army Corps of Engineers to give the project the go ahead, but that $45 million of already permitted work had been completed on the northeast bulkhead of the site.
Kooris said he expects to have a guaranteed maximum price in hand for the project in January or February. He said the port authority still needs to finalize the timing of the project, which could affect costs if workers are kept on the job longer than expected.
Peterson told board members that the board had already approved $171.7 million of work. He explained that if the board awarded the full dredging contract, the total price would stand at $203.9 million. Asked if that price would hold when the board was ready to approve the $32.1 million dredging contract in several months, he said it would.
In a statement, the partnership of Eversource and Ørsted called the permitting a significant milestone for the State Pier redevelopment, and the final major hurdle to develop the port into a staging area for the partnership’s two wind energy projects off the coasts of Rhode Island and Long Island:
“When complete, State Pier will be transformed from a long-underutilized asset into a modern, heavy-lift capable facility, delivering well-paying jobs and economic investment to New London while positioning Connecticut as a regional hub for offshore wind for decades to come.”