Owner National Grid
General Contractor Charter Contracting Co.
Lead Design Firms Anchor QEA and GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc.
Construction Manager GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc.
From dredging and capping to structural carpentry and finish masonry, reconstructing the oldest active marine railway in the country required a diverse skillset. But working around a 9-ft tidal change made some team members feel more like astronomers than engineers. “This was the first time we had to worry about lunar tides,” says Matt Barvenik, senior principal for a project lead design firm, GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc.
Work on top of a future sea wall’s 6-ft-thick tremie slab had to coincide with the lowest tides of the month. Barvenik notes that some tides only allowed for two-hour work windows.
The schedule for the multi-scope $30-million project also had to avoid the summer tourist season. “A lot of this work took place on the water or underwater in the winter time,” says Elizabeth Greene, site investigation and remediation manager for owner National Grid, who termed the job “by far the largest and most technically challenging remediation project undertaken by National Grid in New England to date.”
Despite working on the tight 80,000-sq-ft heavily-trafficked waterway, the team recorded no safety incidents during more than 121,000 worker hours. The team constructed and reconstructed historic waterfront structures and demolished an upland park. It also removed existing piers, pilings and submerged debris and dredged impacted sediment and backfilled dredged areas. Crews installed two sand caps, including one to support 80 marine armor mattresses. Additionally, the team replaced piles and piers for the Gloucester Harbormaster and the Maritime Gloucester Museum and restored piles on a U.S. Coast Guard pier.
Four property owners, including the federal and city governments, made for complicated coordination. In addition to daily construction meetings, project executives met weekly and after hours when necessary. “This was all-hands on deck,” says Bob Delhome, president of main contractor Charter Contracting Co.