*File photo
*File photo

The Minister of Public Works, the Hon. Trevor Moniz, JP, MP, has advised that last week workers at the Heritage Wharf Project completed most of the piling on the southern breasting dolphin.  The Ministry had hopes of completing this stage ahead of schedule but ultimately the need for crane repairs made this impossible as workers have been sharing one crane and one barge between both dolphins currently under construction.

Spares parts were flown in for the second crane on Saturday and the good weather enabled repairs to be undertaken on Monday. “Welding a critical structural section on to a crane unfortunately requires controlled site conditions and a cooperative weather system which we did not have on Sunday,” Minister Moniz said. He added: “The repairs were completed last Monday at midday and the weld was tested.  We then had a frustrating 48 hour wait that was required under the repair procedure prior to retesting the weld and finally we were up and running again on Thursday afternoon a week to the hour from the original incident.”

The Ministry of Public Works has been reorganizing its construction procedure to minimize the effect of the damage caused by a passing vessel but the incident has caused some delay to construction. “We will intensify our efforts over the coming week in an attempt to make up for lost time. This will be to the detriment of the mooring dolphins but these are not critical structures for the arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway and so this is the direction we must take,” Minister Moniz said.

The Minister continued: “On a more positive note we have completed the initial phases of the pile test in the ground transportation area. The pile load was incrementally increased over a two day period and the downward movement of the pile measured with dial gauges reading to 1000th of an inch at each stage.  Once the movement had stopped we increased the load and monitored movement again. Once we had proven the capacity to take a downward load we reversed pulling it upwards over two days.”

The Minister said initial results of the soil strength test were not promising and some concerns were voiced regarding the soil strength, however with time the test results proved promising.  “It will be a few days yet before the results are fully analyzed but we are hopeful that we will not have to weld additional extensions on the piles and drive them deeper still or look to alternative measures to strengthen the foundations.”

Work has also progressed well in the prefabrication area in the South Basin of Dockyard the Minister advised. He also work has been completed on two precast beams weighing 30 tonnes each and have prefabricated reinforcement cages for 36 piles.  “Meanwhile work has started on pre-fabrication of reinforcement mats for the concrete decks that are cast on top of the piles for the ship to rest up against. All of the works being carried out at the same time as the piling saves time in construction once the piling crews have moved on,” said Minister Moniz.

Welding has been going on into the night to speed up our production and the Minister advised that the public may have noticed a site presence with lighting towers and work continuing beyond midnight at times. 

“We are also working hard to improve visitor information at the arrivals hall at Heritage Wharf and trying to improve the pedestrian flow through Dockyard. We are being assisted by local consultant engineers in this process and we will have new signage prepared and installed for 15th of May that will complement the signage and transportation systems that have been coordinated by the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport alongside WEDCo. While all works may not be complete we remain confident that the dock will be prepared to receive its first ship on May 15th,” Minister Moniz said.