NEW LONDON – Boulders disrupting pile driving for the redevelopment of the New London State Pier could add costs and complicate the schedule of the project, officials said at a Connecticut Port Authority meeting on Tuesday.
Port Authority interim Executive Director Ulysses B. Hammond said that three of nine stages of construction at the State Pier have run into difficulties and run behind schedule in the last month – construction of the south wall of the pier, its toe wall, and the heavy lift platform that will allow for it to be used for offshore wind staging.
Hammond said the contractor Kiewit reported that higher than anticipated rock elevations and obstructions have negatively impacted pile driving progress on the pier, which needs to be substantially completed by March 2023 in order for Eversource and Ørsted to use it for construction of their joint offshore wind project, South Fork Wind.
“I remain optimistic that, under the leadership of our contract administrators, Kiewit, and the entire project team, that the work-around solutions will restore the required productivity rates to enable completion of the remaining east berth portion of the State Pier in early Spring 2023,” Hammond said.
Despite the issues, Hammond said the target is still “substantial completion of the project” before Feb. 28, 2023, and final completion by June 2023.
Marlin Peterson, construction manager for the project from AECOM, said that dense material and large boulders were obstructing the pile driving. In July and August, two additional drill rigs and a driving pile were brought to the site to improve productivity and meet the scheduled completion date, Peterson said.
“What we hope to do over the next several weeks, is get existing pile driving data so that we can inform you at the next meeting with a revised completion date, not only for the balance of the areas that are moving well, but also for the State Pier complex,” Peterson said.
Already delayed by a lengthy permitting and appeals process, the cost of the project has ballooned to an estimated $250 million in an attempt to keep the deadline for South Fork. $255.5 million is currently available for the project, a figure that includes a contingency.
Asked what it would cost to resolve these construction issues, Peterson said he is working with the contractor to figure that out with the additional equipment on site, and that one possible solution is extending additional work days.
“Once we can confirm that the productivity numbers can be achieved, we can work through the cost of that and come back to the board for your review and approval,” Peterson said.